An ultrasonic technique for the measurement of the elastic moduli of human cornea

Hsichun Wang, Paul L. Prendiville, Peter J. McDonnell, Wenji V. Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


In the hopes of reducing the unpredictability associated with refractive surgical procedures and ultimately improving surgical techniques, many investigators have attempted to determine the elastic moduli of the cornea. Techniques such as stress-strain tests of corneal strips and the measurement of mercury drop displacement in a whole eye under increasing pressure have resulted in a range of values for Young's modulus from 105 to 107 N m-2. Both of these methods are limited because these mechanical tests cannot be performed in the physiological state and because of the large amount of force applied during testing. We used an ultrasonic technique to determine the elastic moduli of the human cornea. Two groups of six corneas prepared under different conditions (in saline and in dextran) were examined separately and the shear waves were generated and detected in these 12 human eye bank eyes. All the waveforms were digitized and saved in files of binary format. Fast Fourier transformation (FFT) was applied to calculate the speed and attenuation of the shear wave. Using the resulting wave speeds and attenuation coefficients, the Young's moduli of the corneal samples were calculated as (5.3 ± 1.1) × 106 N m-2 and (2.0 ± 1.0) × 107 N m-2 for cornea samples prepared in saline and in dextran at 2.25 MHz, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1633-1636
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Attenuation
  • Shear modulus
  • Shear wave
  • Wave speed
  • Young's modulus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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