Patient-specific finite-element simulation of the human cornea: A clinical validation study on cataract surgery

Studer, Harald P.; Riedwyl, Hansjörg; Amstutz, Christoph A.; Hanson, James V.M.; Büchler, Philippe (2013). Patient-specific finite-element simulation of the human cornea: A clinical validation study on cataract surgery. Journal of biomechanics, 46(4), pp. 751-758. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2012.11.018

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The planning of refractive surgical interventions is a challenging task. Numerical modeling has been proposed as a solution to support surgical intervention and predict the visual acuity, but validation on patient specific intervention is missing. The purpose of this study was to validate the numerical predictions of the post-operative corneal topography induced by the incisions required for cataract surgery. The corneal topography of 13 patients was assessed preoperatively and postoperatively (1-day and 30-day follow-up) with a Pentacam tomography device. The preoperatively acquired geometric corneal topography – anterior, posterior and pachymetry data – was used to build patient-specific finite element models. For each patient, the effects of the cataract incisions were simulated numerically and the resulting corneal surfaces were compared to the clinical postoperative measurements at one day and at 30-days follow up. Results showed that the model was able to reproduce experimental measurements with an error on the surgically induced sphere of 0.38D one day postoperatively and 0.19D 30 days postoperatively. The standard deviation of the surgically induced cylinder was 0.54D at the first postoperative day and 0.38D 30 days postoperatively. The prediction errors in surface elevation and curvature were below the topography measurement device accuracy of ±5μm and ±0.25D after the 30-day follow-up. The results showed that finite element simulations of corneal biomechanics are able to predict post cataract surgery within topography measurement device accuracy. We can conclude that the numerical simulation can become a valuable tool to plan corneal incisions in cataract surgery and other ophthalmosurgical procedures in order to optimize patients' refractive outcome and visual function.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Surgical Technology & Biomechanics ISTB [discontinued]

UniBE Contributor:

Studer, Harald and Büchler, Philippe


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Philippe Büchler

Date Deposited:

12 May 2014 12:07

Last Modified:

12 May 2014 12:07

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Biomechanics, Cornea, Patient-specific, Finite element, Analysis, Validation


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