A Triphasic Analysis of Corneal Swelling and Hydration Control

[+] Author and Article Information
M. R. Bryant, P. J. McDonnell

Department of Ophthalmology, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Doheny Eye Institute, Los Angeles, CA 90033

J Biomech Eng 120(3), 370-381 (Jun 01, 1998) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2798004 History: Received September 17, 1996; Revised September 29, 1997; Online October 30, 2007


Physiological studies strongly support the view that hydration control in the cornea is dependent on active ion transport at the corneal endothelium. However, the mechanism by which endothelial ion transport regulates corneal thickness has not been elaborated in detail. In this study, the corneal stroma is modeled as a triphasic material under steady-state conditions. An ion flux boundary condition is developed to represent active transport at the endothelium. The equations are solved in cylindrical coordinates for confined compression and in spherical coordinates to represent an intact cornea. The model provides a mechanism by which active ion transport at the endothelium regulates corneal hydration and provides a basis for explaining the origin of the “imbibition pressure” and stromal “swelling pressure.” The model encapsulates the Donnan view of corneal swelling as well as the “pump-leak hypothesis.”

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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