Cynthia Roberts, PhD, professor of opthalmology and biomedical engineering, is leading a new funding acquisition from the National Eye Institute. The $1.9 million grant will support studies using donor eyes to test what happens to the shape of the cornea when an air puff is applied, a function of corneal stiffness and intraocular pressure.
The goal of the project is to create a database that will be valuable for future studies of clinical biomechanical biomarkers used to assess the pathology of eye disease. The study will encompass clinical investigation of deformation response in glaucoma, diabetes, ocular hypertension, keratoconus and normal individuals.
Researchers will use 60 pairs of human donor eyes, with half of each pair used as the control group. The eyes will be subjected to both changes of intraocular pressure and a corneal-stiffening procedure. The idea is to determine what changes occur in the cornea deformation response under these conditions. Additionally, 400 subjects will be enrolled the clinical investigation to evaluate responses as a function of disease process and compare with the ex-vivo database to generate potential biomarkers for disease.
The cornea changes will be measured in a series of 140 images captured by a new device with a high-speed camera (>4,300 frames/second). The images will be analyzed to look at deformation shape features, as well as a novel stiffness parameter, both ex vivo and clinically in glaucoma, diabetes and corneal disease.
Roberts said, “At the conclusion of this study, we will have created a comprehensive database of ex-vivo and in-vivo corneal deformation response parameters as a function of intraocular pressure, corneal stiffness parameter and in-vivo ocular disease.”
Co-investigators for the project are Jun Liu, PhD, Matthew Ohr, MD, and Paul Weber, MD.