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The purpose of this study was to ascertain the relationships between the amplitude of the corneal pulse (CP) signal and the parameters of corneal biomechanics during ex-vivo intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation experiments on porcine eyes with artificially induced ocular pulse cycles. Two experiments were carried out using porcine eyes. In the first one, a selected eye globe was subjected to three IOP levels (15, 30 and 45 mmHg), where changes in physical ocular pulse amplitude were controlled by infusion/withdrawal volumes (ΔV). In the second experiment, six eyes were subjected to IOP from 15 mmHg to 45 mmHg in steps of 5 mmHg with a constant ΔV, where corneal deformation parameters were measured using Corvis ST. In both experiments, at each IOP, the CP and IOP signals were acquired synchronically using a non-contact ultrasonic distance sensor and a pressure transmitter, respectively. Based on the amplitudes of the CP and IOP signals ocular pulse based corneal rigidity index (OPCRI) was calculated. Results indicate positive correlations between ΔV and the physical ocular pulse amplitude, and between ΔV and the corneal pulse amplitude (both p < 0.001). OPCRI was found to increase with elevated IOP. Furthermore, IOP statistically significantly differentiated changes in OPCRI, the amplitudes of CP and IOP signals and in most of the corneal deformation parameters (p < 0.05). The partial correlation analysis, with IOP as a control variable, revealed a significant correlation between the length of the flattened cornea during the first applanation (A1L) and the corneal pulse amplitude (p = 0.002), and between A1L and OPCRI (p = 0.003). In conclusion, this study proved that natural corneal pulsations, detected with a non-contact ultrasonic technique, reflect pressure-volume dynamics and can potentially be utilized to assess stiffness of the cornea. The proposed new rigidity index could be a simple approach to estimating corneal rigidity.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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