Physically-based modeling and simulation of extraocular muscles

Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2010 Dec;103(2-3):273-83. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2010.09.002. Epub 2010 Sep 22.


Dynamic simulation of human eye movements, with realistic physical models of extraocular muscles (EOMs), may greatly advance our understanding of the complexities of the oculomotor system and aid in treatment of visuomotor disorders. In this paper we describe the first three dimensional (3D) biomechanical model which can simulate the dynamics of ocular motility at interactive rates. We represent EOMs using "strands", which are physical primitives that can model an EOM's complex nonlinear anatomical and physiological properties. Contact between the EOMs, the globe, and orbital structures can be explicitly modeled. Several studies were performed to assess the validity and utility of the model. EOM deformation during smooth pursuit was simulated and compared with published experimental data; the model reproduces qualitative features of the observed nonuniformity. The model is able to reproduce realistic saccadic trajectories when the lateral rectus muscle was driven by published measurements of abducens neuron discharge. Finally, acute superior oblique palsy, a pathological condition, was simulated to further evaluate the system behavior; the predicted deviation patterns agree qualitatively with experimental observations. This example also demonstrates potential clinical applications of such a model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Connective Tissue / physiology
  • Eye Movements
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Oculomotor Muscles / pathology
  • Oculomotor Muscles / physiology*