A mesh-free approach to cornea-aqueous humor interaction during tonometry tests

Andrea Montanino, Maurizio Angelillo, Anna Pandolfi


The dynamic tonometer test (air-puff test) is an in-vivo investigative procedure routinely utilized in ophthalmology to estimate the intraocular pressure (IOP). A rapid, localized air jet applied on the anterior surface induces the inward motion of the cornea, which interacts with the aqueous humor — filling the narrow space between cornea and iris — and has a strong influence on corneal dynamics. Potentially, this quick and painless test could be combined with inverse analysis methods to characterize the patient-specific mechanical properties of the human cornea. As a step towards this aim, the present study describes a fluid-structure interaction (FSI) approach based on a simplified geometry to simulate the anterior chamber of the eye undergoing the air-puff test. We regard the cornea as a non-linear, elastic, and isotropic membrane described through an analytical model, discretizing the weakly compressible Newtonian fluid with a mesh-free particle approach. Numerical analyses reveal a marked influence of the fluid on corneal dynamics. Additionally, we investigate the possibility of using the test dynamics to estimate IOP.


air-puff test; collocation methods; fluid-dynamics, fluid-solid interaction; mesh-free methods; particle methods

Full Text:



Simonini I, Pandolfi A. Customized finite element modelling of the human cornea. PLoS One. 2015; 10(6):e0130426.

Sanchez P, Moutsouris K, Pandolfi A. Biomechanical and optical behavior of human corneas before and after photorefractive keratectomy, J Cataract Refr Surg 2014;40(6):905-917.

Ariza-Gracia MA, Zurita JF, Pinero DP, Rodriguez-Matas JF, Calvo B. coupled biomechanical response of the cornea assessed by noncontact tonometry. A simulation study. PLoS One. 2015; 10(3):e0121486

Ariza-Gracia MA, Zurita J, Pinero DP, Calvo B, Rodriguez-Matas JF. Automatized patient-specific methodology for numerical determination of biomechanical corneal response. Ann Biomed Eng.2016;44(5):1753-1772.

Ortilles A, Rodriguez-Matas JF, Ariza-Gracia MA, Pascual G, Calvo B. Why non-contact tonometry tests cannot evaluate the effects of corneal collagen cross-linking. J Refract Surg. 2017;33(3):184-192.

Lanchares E, Del Buey MA, Cristobal JA, Calvo B, Ascaso FJ, Malve M. Computational simulation of scleral buckling surgery for rhegmatogenous retinal detachment: On the effect of the band size on the myopization. J Ophthalmol. 2016;2016:3578617.

Pandolfi A, Fotia G, Manganiello F. Finite element simulations of laser refractive corneal surgery. Eng Comput. 2009;25(1):15-24.

Simonini I, Pandolfi A. The influence of intraocular pressure and air jet pressure on corneal contactless tonometry tests. J Mech Behav Biomed. 2016;58:75-89.

Simonini I, Angelillo M, Pandolfi A. Theoretical and numerical analysis of the corneal air puff test. J Mech Phys Solids. 2016;93:118-134.

Asprone D, Auricchio F, Montanino A, Reali A. A modified finite particle method: Multi-dimensional elasto-statics and dynamics. Int J Numer Meth Eng. 2014;99(1):1-25.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Journal for Modeling in Ophthalmology