Computational modeling was performed to study how loss of compliance of the eye and abnormally high pressures result in changes in stresses and strains that may impact the optic nerve in diseases such as glaucoma. Hemispherical finite element models of the eye were created in which scleral thickness varied from the equatorial region to the optic nerve head (ONH). Nonhomogeneous material properties were used to model the ONH as a continuous region softer than the adjacent sclera. The ONH and an adjacent buffer zone in the sclera were modeled with enough detail that the size of the ONH could be changed to account for variations observed in humans. The model was provided with appropriate dimensions typical of patients and nonlinear material properties with decreased compliance. Models with different ONH sizes were inflated in small steps to 55 mmHg (7.33 kPa), providing deformed configurations at intermediate pressures of 15, 30 and 45 mmHg, respectively. Color-coded maps of stress and strain components were rendered directly on deformed configurations of the eye model; and animations were produced that show both spatial and temporal variations of stresses and strains as internal pressure increases. Three-dimensional stresses and accompanying finite strains were similar for ONH sizes ranging form 1.5 to 2.5 mm in diameter. Stress and strain differences were estimated as pressure was increased from 15 to 25 mmHg, 30 to 40 mmHg, and 45 to 55 mmHg. Substantial changes occurred in stress and strain differences as the pressure range was varied with large changes occurring in the lowest pressure range for strain components and moderate increases in stress differences as pressures increase.

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