PURPOSE: To investigate two new stiffness parameters and their relationships with the dynamic corneal response (DCR) parameters and compare normal and keratoconic eyes. METHODS: Stiffness parameters are defined as Resultant Pressure at inward applanation (A1) divided by corneal displacement. Stiffness parameter A1 uses displacement between the undeformed cornea and A1 and stiffness parameter highest concavity (HC) uses displacement from A1 to maximum deflection during HC. The spatial and temporal profiles of the Corvis ST (Oculus Optikgeräte, Wetzlar, Germany) air puff were characterized using hot wire anemometry. An adjusted air pressure impinging on the cornea at A1 (adjAP1) and an algorithm to biomechanically correct intraocular pressure based on finite element modelling (bIOP) were used for Resultant Pressure calculation (adjAP1 - bIOP). Linear regression analyses between DCR parameters and stiffness parameters were performed on a retrospective dataset of 180 keratoconic eyes and 482 normal eyes. DCR parameters from a subset of 158 eyes of 158 patients in each group were matched for bIOP and compared using t tests. A P value of less than .05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS: All DCR parameters evaluated showed significant differences between normal and keratoconic eyes, except peak distance. Keratoconic eyes had lower stiffness parameter values, thinner pachymetry, shorter applanation lengths, greater absolute values of applanation velocities, earlier A1 times and later second applanation times, greater HC deformation amplitudes and HC deflection amplitudes, and lower HC radius of concave curvature (greater concave curvature). Most DCR parameters showed a significant relationship with both stiffness parameters in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Keratoconic eyes demonstrated less resistance to deformation than normal eyes with similar IOP. The stiffness parameters may be useful in future biomechanical studies as potential biomarkers.
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