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Abstract #107711 Published in IGR 23-4

The Effects of Negative Periocular Pressure on Biomechanics of the Optic Nerve Head and Cornea: A Computational Modeling Study

Safa BN; Bleeker A; Bleeker A; Bleeker A; Berdahl JP; Ethier CR
Translational vision science & technology 2023; 12: 5

See also comment(s) by Arthur Sit

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of negative periocular pressure (NPP), and concomitant intraocular pressure (IOP) lowering, on the biomechanics of the optic nerve head (ONH) and cornea. METHODS: We developed a validated finite element (FE) model of the eye to compute tissue biomechanical strains induced in response to NPP delivered using the Multi-Pressure Dial (MPD) system. The model was informed by clinical measurements of IOP lowering and was based on published tissue properties. We also conducted sensitivity analyses by changing pressure loads and tissue properties. RESULTS: Application of -7.9 mmHg NPP decreased strain magnitudes in the ONH by c. 50% whereas increasing corneal strain magnitudes by c. 25%. Comparatively, a similar increase in corneal strain was predicted to occur due to an increase in IOP of 4 mmHg. Sensitivity studies indicated that NPP lowers strain in the ONH by reducing IOP and that these effects persisted over a range of tissue stiffnesses and spatial distributions of NPP. CONCLUSIONS: NPP is predicted to considerably decrease ONH strain magnitudes. It also increases corneal strain but to an extent expected to be clinically insignificant. Thus, using NPP to lower IOP and hence decrease ONH mechanical strain is likely biomechanically beneficial for patients with glaucoma. TRANSLATIONAL RELEVANCE: This study provides the first description of how NPP affects ONH biomechanics and explains the underlying mechanism of ONH strain reduction. It complements current empirical knowledge about the MPD system and guides future studies of NPP as a treatment for glaucoma.

Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.

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