In Vivo Corneal Biomechanics: A Biomarker for Glaucoma?

Michael Julien Alexandre Girard, PhD Imperial College London

Co-Principal Investigators

Nick Strouthidis, MBBS, MD, MRCOphth Moorfields Eye Hospital


In this project we are exploring the relationship between the mechanical behavior of the cornea, a structure located at the front of the eye, and glaucoma - a potentially blinding condition which affects the optic nerve head, a structure located at the back of the eye. Specifically, we are looking to see whether understanding and quantifying corneal mechanical behavior in humans can be used to predict the likelihood of glaucoma, and of visual loss from glaucoma. This endeavor will have important implications for the diagnosis and management of glaucoma, one of the world's leading causes of blindness.

Project Details

Drs. Michael Girard and Nick Strouthidis will explore whether the stiffness of the cornea, i.e., the clear “window” at the front of the eye, can predict glaucoma, a blinding ocular disorder characterized by mechanical damage at the back of the eye. An optical coherence tomography scanner will be used to image in great detail how all ocular tissues, including both the front and back of the eye, respond to a change in intraocular pressure (the pressure that maintains the shape of the eye). Such testing will allow them, for the first time ever, to deduce the stiffness of the entire eye in glaucoma patients and establish a correlation between these stiffness and vision loss. They envision one day assessing glaucoma risk by measuring the stiffness of patients' corneas in the clinic.