Numerical and Experimental Study of the Spatial Stress Distribution on the Cornea Surface During a Non-Contact Tonometry Examination

  • S. MuenchEmail author
  • M. Roellig
  • E. Spoerl
  • D. Balzani


The determination of biomechanical properties of the cornea by a non-contact tonometry (NCT) examination requires a precise knowledge of the air puff generated in the device, which is applied to the cornea surface. In this study, a method is proposed to identify the resulting stress profile on the surface, which may be used to numerically solve an inverse problem to obtain the material properties. This method is based on an experimental characterization of the air puff created by the Corvis ST in combination with computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations, which are adjusted to the experimental data. The identified nozzle inlet pressure of approximately \(25 \text {kPa}\) (188.5mmHg) is then used for a numerical influence study of the interaction between the air puff and the cornea deformation. Therefore, eleven cornea deformation states based on measurements are implemented in the CFD model. A more realistic model is also analyzed by the geometrical reproduction of the human face, which is used for a further influence study. The outcomes showed a dependence between the cornea deformation and the pressure as well as the shear stress distribution. However, quantitatively, the shear stress component can be considered of minor importance being approximately one hundred times smaller than the pressure. The examination with consideration of the human face demonstrates that the pressure and shear stress distributions are not rotationally symmetric in measurements on real humans, which indicates the requirement to include more complex stress distributions on the eye. We present the detailed stress distribution on the cornea during a non-contact tonometry examination, which is made accessible for further investigations in the future by analytical nonlinear functions.


Corneal biomechanics Non-contact tonometry Computational fluid dynamics Pressure distribution Shear force distribution Air puff characterization 



The authors appreciate financial funding from the European Research Fund (ESF) through the training research group “Cosima” (ESF Project 100231947). Furthermore, the author Daniel Balzani thanks the Institutional Strategy “The Synergetic University” at Technische Universität Dresden funded by the DFG and the author Eberhard Spörl appreciates funding from the Ministry of Education and Research for a German-India project. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Mechanics and Shell Structures (IMF)DresdenGermany
  2. 2.Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS)DresdenGermany
  3. 3.Dresden Center for Computational Materials Science (DCMS)Technische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany
  4. 4.Department of Ophthalmology, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav CarusTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany
  5. 5.Chair of Computational MechanicsRuhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany

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