Ocular Biomechanics Laboratory

Ian A. Sigal, PhD
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
Laboratory of Ocular Biomechanics
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Lab Personnel

Danielle Hu (Research Assistant)
Ning-Jiun Jan (Graduate Student)
Alexandra Judisch (Systems Analyst)
Huong Tran (Graduate Student)
Andrew Voorhees, PhD ( Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Research Interests

The objective of the Laboratory of Ocular Biomechanics is to study the eye as a biomechanical structure. More specifically our work is aimed at identifying the causes of glaucoma, with the ultimate intention of finding a way to prevent vision loss.

In our daily lives we rarely think of the eye as a biomechanical structure. The eye, however, is a remarkably complex structure with biomechanics involved in many of its functions. For our eyes to be able to track moving objects, for example, requires a delicate balance of the forces exerted by several muscles. Forces are also responsible for deforming the lens and allow focusing. A slight imbalance between the forces and tissue properties may be enough to alter or even preclude vision. These effects may take place quickly or over long periods, even years. Understanding ocular biomechanics is therefore important for preventing and treating vision loss.

For more information, please visit the Ocular Biomechanics Laboratory website

Select Recent Publications

  1. H. Yang, G. Williams, J.C. Downs, I.A. Sigal, M.D. Roberts, H. Thompson and C. F. Burgoyne. “Outward migration of the anterior and posterior lamina cribrosa insertions and early cupping in non-human primate experimental glaucoma”. Accepted by Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci on 31 May 2011.

  2. I.A. Sigal, “An applet to estimate the IOP-induced stress and strain within the optic nerve head”. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, Epub 28 Apr 2011, PMID: 21527378.

  3. L. Kagemann, G. Wollstein, H. Ishikawa, I.A. Sigal, L.S. Folio, J. Xu, H. Gong and J.S. Schuman, “3D Visualization of Aqueous Outflow Structures In-Situ in Humans”. Experimental Eye Research, Epub 15 Apr 2011 (Camras Special Issue). PMID: 21514296.

  4. R. Norman, J.G. Flanagan, I.A. Sigal, S. Rausch, I. Tertinegg and C.R. Ethier. “Finite element modeling of the human sclera: influence on optic nerve head biomechanics and connections with glaucoma”. Experimental Eye Research, Epub 29 Sep 2010. PMID 20883693.

  5. J.C. Downs, M.D. Roberts and I.A. Sigal, “Glaucomatous cupping of the lamina cribrosa: a review of the evidence for active progressive remodeling as a mechanism”, Experimental Eye Research, Epub 11 Aug 2010, PMID 20708001.

  6. I.A. Sigal, H. Yang, M.D. Roberts, C.F. Burgoyne and J.C. Downs, “IOP-induced lamina cribrosa displacement and scleral canal expansion: an analysis of factor interactions using parameterized eye-specific models”, Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 52(3):1896-1907, Mar 2011.

  7. N.G. Strouthidis, B. Fortune, H. Yang, I.A. Sigal and C.F. Burgoyne, “Longitudinal change detected by spectral domain optical coherence tomography in the glaucomatous optic nerve head and peripapillary retina”, Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 52(3):1206-19, Mar 2011.

  8. H. Yang, H. Thompson, M.D. Roberts, I.A. Sigal, J.C. Downs and C. F. Burgoyne. “Deformation of the early glaucomatous monkey optic nerve head connective tissue following acute IOP elevation within 3-D histomorphometric reconstructions”, Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 52(1):345-63, Jan 2011.

  9. M.D. Roberts, I.A. Sigal, Y. Liang, C.F. Burgoyne and J. C. Downs. “Changes in the biomechanical response of the optic nerve head in early experimental glaucoma”, Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 51(11):5675-5684, Nov 2010.

  10. P.G. Sanfilippo, A. Cardini, I.A. Sigal, J. Ruddle, B.E. Chua, A.W. Hewitt, and D.A. Mackey. “A geometric morphometric assessment of the optic cup in glaucoma”, Experimental Eye Research, 91(3): 405-414, Sep 2010.

Contact Information

Ian Sigal, PhD
EEINS-930, 203 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh PA 15213