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Laboratory of
Ocular Biomechanics

University of Pittsburgh


September/2020: New paper accepted!

  • "Lamina cribrosa capillaries straighten as intraocular pressure increases" by Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.

September/2020: Three virtual presentations

  • Carnegie Mellon Forum on Biomedical Engineering (held virtually).

  • Po-Yi Lee presented "Real-time imaging of the stretch-induced changes in the optic nerve head collagen architecture".

  • Susannah Waxman presented "Lamina cribrosa capillaries straighten as intraocular pressure increases".

  • Grace Ingram presented "High-speed structured polarized light imaging of tissue dynamics". In collaboration with the Yang lab at Duquesne University..

September/2020: New grant awarded!

  • National Science Foundation, PI: Piervincenzo Rizzo.

  • Collaboration with Ian Conner, Samuel Dickerson and Robert Handzel.

  • "Managing glaucoma in the digital age: A new tonometer to connect patients to their caregivers".

  • PittWire News release.

August/2020: New paper accepted!

  • "Role of radially aligned scleral collagen fibers in optic nerve head biomechanics" by Experimental eye research.

July/2020: Two virtual presentations

  • Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference (SB3C). Held virtually June 17-20, 2020.

  • Po-Yi Lee presented "Direct visualization and measurement of stretch-induced uncrimping of the collagen fibers of the optic nerve head".

  • Yi (Jason) Hua presented "Tissue collagen fibers are often interwoven. So what? In support of considering fiber interweaving".

June/2020: Virtual talk and virtual poster

  • TECBio 2020 Symposium

  • Pi'ilani Noguchi presented "Comparing the Collagen Structures in the Eye with Computer Simulated Images by Utilizing Histograms".

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.

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.