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Laboratory of
Ocular Biomechanics

University of Pittsburgh


June/2020: New paper accepted!

  • "Collagen fiber interweaving is central to sclera stiffness" by Acta Biomaterialia.

June/2020: Grant Renewed!

  • R01 National Institutes of Health / National Eye Institute - PI:Sigal

  • "Optic nerve head microstructure, biomechanics and susceptibility to glaucoma".

June/2020: Congratulations Fuqiang Zhong!

  • He is now a post-doctoral fellow.

May/2020: Welcome Pi'ilani Noguchi!

  • She will do research with us this summer as part of the 2020 TECBio REU program.

May/2020: Congratulations Susannah Waxman!

  • She has been selected to receive support from the Vision sciences training program grant.

April/2020: Congratulations Fuqiang Zhong!

  • Passed his PhD oral defense (via Zoom). Note that Fuqiang's PhD is from the National University of Singapore.

  • "Development of Digital Image Correlation (DIC) Technique for Engineering Measurement"

April/2020: Congratulations Ziyi Zhu!

  • Defended his MS research thesis in Bioengineering (via Zoom)

  • "Measuring 3D Optic Nerve Head Deformations using Digital Volume Correlation of in vivo Optical Coherence Tomography Data"

March/2020: Poster presentation

  • "Toward high-resolution three-dimensional reconstruction of optic nerve head vasculature via optical clearing" by Susannah Waxman

  • McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Retreat 2020

  • A collaboration with the Loewen lab from the University of Wurzburg in Germany

Active projects
Click images for more info.

Why biomechanics of the eye?

In our daily lives we rarely think of the eye as a biomechanical structure. The eye, however, is a remarkably complex structure with biomechanics involved in many of its functions. For our eyes to be able to track moving objects, for example, requires a delicate balance of the forces exerted by several muscles. Forces are also responsible for deforming the lens and allow focusing. A slight imbalance between the forces and tissue properties may be enough to alter or even preclude vision. These effects may take place quickly or over long periods, even years. Understanding ocular biomechanics is therefore important for preventing and treating vision loss.


Eye diagram

Schematic cross-section through a human eye. Light enters the eye through the cornea, passes through the pupil, lens and vitreous humour and strikes the retina, where it is absorbed. Retinal nerve fibers transmit visual information to the brain. These fibers converge at the optic nerve head region, exit the eye through the scleral canal, and form the optic nerve. The lamina cribrosa is a porous structure spanning the scleral canal. The vitreous chamber is filled with the vitreous humor, which exerts a pressure, the intraocular pressure, on the surface of the retina. [Sigal et al. Biomech Model Mechanobiol, 8(2):85-98, Apr 2009] (adapted from an illustration from NIH)



The objective of the Laboratory of Ocular Biomechanics is to study the eye as a biomechanical structure. More specifically our work is aimed at identifying the causes of glaucoma, with the ultimate intention of finding a way to prevent vision loss.