Finite element analysis applied to cornea reshaping

Delia Cabrera Fernández, A. M. Niazy, R. M. Kurtz, G. P. Djotyan, T. Juhasz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


A 2-D finite element model of the cornea is developed to simulate corneal reshaping and the resulting deformation induced by refractive surgery. In the numerical simulations, linear and nonlinear elastic models are applied when stiffness inhomogeneities varying with depth are considered. Multiple simulations are created that employ different geometric configurations for the removal of the corneal tissue. Side-by-side comparisons of the different constitutive laws are also performed. To facilitate the comparison, the material property constants are identified from the same experimental data, which are obtained from mechanical tests on corneal strips and membrane inflation experiments. We then validate the resulting models by comparing computed refractive power changes with clinical results. Tissue deformations created by simulated corneal tissue removal using finite elements are consistent with clinically observed postsurgical results. The model developed provides a much more predictable refractive outcome when the stiffness inhomogeneities of the cornea and nonlinearities of the deformations are included in the simulations. Finite element analysis is a useful tool for modeling surgical effects on the cornea and developing a better understanding of the biomechanics of the cornea. The creation of patient-specific simulations would allow surgical outcomes to be predicted based on individualized finite element models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064018
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Biomechanics
  • Cornea
  • Corneal refractive surgery
  • Finite elements
  • Tissue models
  • Ultrafast laser technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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