SIG Event on Fluid Mechanics of the Eye: Tuesday 26th to Wed 27th March 2019

This event is funded by EPSRC UK Fluids Network with additional support from SofTMech

This event will bring together a group of modellers to work on problems related to the fluid mechanics of the eye. It follows as part of a series of meetings funded by the UK Fluids Network (past meetings at Imperial, Oxford, Manchester). The event will be an informal study group considering two problems – one related to the cornea and the front of the eye (Problem 1) and one related to the retina and the back of the eye (Problem 2). More details of the problems can be found below.

Approximate timetable:


11:30-12:00 Problem 1 presentation

12:00-12:30 Problem 2 presentation

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-3:00 Work in groups

3:00-3:30 Coffee

3:30-5:00 Work in groups

5:00 Brief summary of work so far

6:30 Dinner locally



9:00-10:45 Work in groups

11:15-1:00 Work in groups

1:00-2:00 Lunch

2:00-2:25 Presentation on problem 1

2:20-2:50 Presentation on problem 2

2:50-3:00 Final discussion and follow up planning


Problems under consideration


Problem 1: Lamellar folding in Keratoconus


Presenter: Gary Misson, Aston University


Keratoconus is a disease which results in significant changes in shape of the cornea, which can result in distorted vision. Mechanically, deformation occurs due to thinning of the cornea itself which can then cause it to bulge into a cone like configuration. However, the cornea is composed of several layers of soft tissue which are reinforced by families of collagen fibres. This problem aims to consider the changes in corneal shape that results from changes to the thickness, composition or orientation of fibres within one or more of these tissue layers.


In particular, we wish to use mathematical modelling to understand and explain the zig-zag lamellar folding structure of the corneal layers which can be seen is keratoconus (see image).

Problem 2: Macular holes


Presenter: Louisa Wickham, Moorfields Eye Hospital

A macular hole is a small break in the macula, located in the centre of the retina. Macular holes lead to a drop in central vision, distorted vision and in some cases patients notice missing areas in their central visual field. The condition is caused following release of traction on the retinal surface by vitreous gel that fills the cavity of the eye. Although some macular holes can seal themselves and require no treatment, surgery is necessary in many cases to help improve vision. In this surgical procedure–called a vitrectomy–the vitreous gel is removed to prevent it from pulling on the retina and the doctor places a bubble containing a mixture of air and gas into the eye. The bubble acts as an internal, temporary bandage that holds the edge of the macular hole in place as it heals. Surgery is successful in closing macular holes in approximately 85-90% patients, although this success rate is lower in some ethnic minorities. Even with successful surgery visual acuity outcomes are below normal vision both qualitatively and quantitatively. In this project we want to investigate the possibility of predicting macular hole formation in patients presenting with vitreomacular traction. Following on from this we would then like to look at whether any of the macular hole parameters seen on routine pre-operative scans could predict likelihood of closure with surgery.



First published: 31 January 2019