Investigating the Mechanical Behavior of the Optic Nerve Head in Glaucoma

Thao Nguyen, PhD Johns Hopkins University

Co-Principal Investigators

Harry A. Quigley, MD


We aim to investigate the mechanical behavior of the optic head in glaucoma patients and determine how it may be altered by glaucoma damage. In Aim 1, we will measure the deformation response to IOP change of the tissues of the optic nerve head (ONH) of glaucoma patients using optical coherence tomography. We will develop in Aim 2 a method named the virtual field method to analyze the deformation and determine the mechanical properties of the tissues of the optic nerve head. We will analyze the deformation and material properties for changes with loss of visual field and retinal nerve fiber layer.

Project Details

The project provides unique methods that can accurately and repeatably measure deformation and determine mechanical properties in the optic nerve head in patients. This simple method can be translated readily to any clinical environment. The findings of the project will increase our understanding of how the mechanical properties and strain response of the ONH vary with age, sex, glaucoma damage, and structural features of the ONH. The methods and outcomes from this project will enable patient-specific glaucoma therapies.