The popularity of refractive surgery to correct the vision of individuals with hyperopia or myopia is increasing. These procedures alter the tissue of the human cornea to cause a change in curvature (refractive power) of the cornea. Radial keratotomy, photorefractive keratectomy, LASIK, and LASEK are all types of refractive surgery. The outcomes of refractive surgical procedures must depend significantly on the biomechanical response of the tissue and therefore on the biomechanical properties of the cornea, or more specifically the corneal stroma which makes up 90% of the tissue. The missing link between computer models of these procedures and predicting patient outcomes is the biomechanical properties of the tissue, including shear modulus. This study aims to characterize the in-plane shear modulus of the corneal stroma through the depth by mechanical testing. Scant data, if any, exists about the shear stiffness and no data includes depth dependence. The stroma consists of sheets of collagenous lamellae in which fibrils are maintained at uniform spacing by glycoaminoglycan molecules. Studies have shown increased interweaving of the lamellae in the anterior third of the stroma compared to the central and posterior thirds [1]. Figure 1 shows the distinct interweaving in the anterior third [2]. It is hypothesized that more interweaving lamellae increases the in-plane shear stiffness. The shear modulus of the full cornea, as well as individual thirds, is examined in this study.

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