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Laboratory of
Ocular Biomechanics

University of Pittsburgh


Latest News

January/2020: New paper accepted

  • "Connective tissue remodeling in myopia and its potential role in increasing risk of glaucoma" by Current opinion in biomedical engineering.

  • In collaboration with Rafael Grytz and Brian Samuels from the University of Alabama Birmingham, and Hongli Yang from the Devers eye institute in Portland.

January/2020: Welcome Susannah Waxman

  • As a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary biomedical sciences program.

November/2019: Invited lecture by Ian Sigal

  • Duquesne University, Department of Engineering, Pittsburgh, PA, Nov 20, 2019.

October/2019: Podium and poster presentations

  • ISER/Brightfocus 2019 Concepts and breakthroughs in glaucoma symposium, Atlanta, GA, Oct 23-26, 2019.

October/2019: Poster presentation by Gosia Fryc

  • Science 2019, University of Pittsburgh.

October/2019: Ian Sigal promoted

  • Dr. Sigal, director of the Laboratory of Ocular Biomechanics is now Associate professor with tenure.

September/2019: New paper accepted

  • "A mesh-free approach to incorporate complex anisotropic and heterogeneous material properties into eye-specific finite element models" by Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering.

  • In collaboration with Rafael Grytz, Chris Girkin and C. Downs and the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Alabama Birmingham.

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.