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Histological observations of the cornea have identified the presence of multiple layers with differing thickness and function. The composition of the cornea consists primarily of collagen fibrils held together with proteoglycans but with an aqueous interstitial component being dominant. Indentation provides a means to quantify the spatial variation of the mechanical properties of the cornea, however the role of the different layers on the indentation response has barely been addressed. In addition, the response of the fluid content and its displacement during indentation has not been adequately considered. In this study indentation of the cornea with a relatively large spherical tipped indenter (R = 500 μm) is considered. It was observed that the initial phase of loading did not fit a classic Hertz elastic response but showed an initial steeper slope that gradually declines with increasing force and displacement. A relatively simple approach is developed that initially considers the cornea as a poro-elastic bi-layer contact problem, that is the presence of an outer thin stiffer Bowman's layer overlaying the thicker less stiff stroma. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


M V Swain, N Schroeter, J Nohava, P Eberwein. Indentation of the cornea: A Bi-layer contact problem. Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials. 2021 Jun;118:104463

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PMID: 33765544

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