Alteration in refractive index profile during accommodation based on mechanical modelling

Bahrami, Mehdi, Heidari, Ali and Pierscionek, Barbara K. (2016) Alteration in refractive index profile during accommodation based on mechanical modelling. Biomedical Optics Express, 7(1), pp. 99-110. ISSN (online) 2156-7085


The lens of the eye has a gradient refractive index (GRIN). Ocular accommodation, which alters the shape of the lens in response to visual demand, causes a redistribution of the internal structure of the lens leading to a change in the GRIN profile. The nature of this redistribution and the consequence of change in the GRIN profile are not understood. A modelling approach that considers how the GRIN profile may change with accommodation needs to take into account optical and mechanical parameters and be cognisant of individual variability in the shape and size of lenses. This study models the normalised axial GRIN profile during accommodation using reduced modelling and incorporating finite element analysis to connect inhomogenous mechanical characteristics of the lens to optical performance. The results show that simulated stretching changes the length of the plateau but does not alter the cortical gradient, which supports clinical findings. There is a very small change to the accommodated and non-accommodated profiles when normalised, yet this yields measurable changes in aberrations with around 11% and almost 13% difference in spherical aberration and astigmatism respectively. The results can be used in reconstruction of the refractive index and for investigating gradual changes with age.

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