Estimating the corneal elasticity can provide valuable information for corneal pathologies and treatments. Ophthalmologic pathologies will invariably cause changes to the elasticity of the cornea. For example, keratoconus and the phototoxic effects of ultraviolet radiation usually increase the corneal elasticity. This makes a quantitative estimation of the elasticity of the human cornea important for ophthalmic diagnoses. The present study investigated the use of a proposed high-resolution shear wave imaging (HR-SWI) method based on a dual-element transducer (comprising an 8-MHz element for pushing and a 32-MHz element for imaging) for measuring the group shear wave velocity (GSWV) of the human cornea. An empirical Young’s modulus formula was used to accurately convert the GSWV to Young’s modulus. Four quantitative parameters, bias, resolution, contrast, and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), were measured in gelatin phantoms with two different concentrations (3% and 7%) to evaluate the performance of HR-SWI. The biases of gelatin phantoms (3% and 7%) were 5.88% and 0.78%, respectively. The contrast and CNR were 0.76, 1.31 and 3.22, 2.43 for the two-side and two-layer phantoms, respectively. The measured image resolutions of HR-SWI in the lateral and axial directions were 72 and 140 µm, respectively. The calculated phase SWV (PSWV) and their corresponding Young’s modulus from six human donors were 2.45 ± 0.48 m/s (1600 Hz) and 11.52 ± 7.81 kPa, respectively. All the experimental results validated the concept of HR-SWI and its ability for measuring the human corneal elasticity.
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