Mapping in-vivo optic nerve head strains caused by intraocular and intracranial pressures

H. Tran, J. Grimm, B. Wang, M. A. Smith, A. Gogola, S. Nelson, E. Tyler-Kabara, J. Schuman, G. Wollstein, I. A. Sigal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Although it is well documented that abnormal levels of either intraocular (IOP) or intracranial pressure (ICP) can lead to potentially blinding conditions, such as glaucoma and papilledema, little is known about how the pressures actually affect the eye. Even less is known about potential interplay between their effects, namely how the level of one pressure might alter the effects of the other. Our goal was to measure in-vivo the pressure-induced stretch and compression of the lamina cribrosa due to acute changes of IOP and ICP. The lamina cribrosa is a structure within the optic nerve head, in the back of the eye. It is important because it is in the lamina cribrosa that the pressure-induced deformations are believed to initiate damage to neural tissues leading to blindness. An eye of a rhesus macaque monkey was imaged in-vivo with optical coherence tomography while IOP and ICP were controlled through cannulas in the anterior chamber and lateral ventricle, respectively. The image volumes were analyzed with a newly developed digital image correlation technique. The effects of both pressures were highly localized, nonlinear and non-monotonic, with strong interactions. Pressure variations from the baseline normal levels caused substantial stretch and compression of the neural tissues in the posterior pole, sometimes exceeding 20%. Chronic exposure to such high levels of biomechanical insult would likely lead to neural tissue damage and loss of vision. Our results demonstrate the power of digital image correlation technique based on non-invasive imaging technologies to help understand how pressures induce biomechanical insults and lead to vision problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical Elastography and Tissue Biomechanics IV
EditorsDavid D. Sampson, Kirill V. Larin
ISBN (Electronic)9781510605756
StatePublished - 2017
EventOptical Elastography and Tissue Biomechanics IV - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Jan 28 2017Jan 30 2017

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceOptical Elastography and Tissue Biomechanics IV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Biomechanics
  • Elastography
  • Glaucoma
  • Intracranial pressure
  • Intraocular pressure
  • Lamina cribrosa
  • OCT
  • VIIP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomaterials


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