Changing material properties of the tree shrew sclera during minus lens compensation and recovery

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015 Mar 3;56(3):2065-78. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-15352.


Purpose: To estimate two collagen-specific material properties (crimp angle and elastic modulus of collagen fibrils) of the remodeling tree shrew sclera during monocular -5 diopter (D) lens wear and recovery.

Methods: Tensile tests were performed on scleral strips obtained from juvenile tree shrews exposed to three different visual conditions: normal, monocular -5 D lens wear to induce myopia, and recovery. Collagen fibrils are crimped in the unloaded sclera and uncrimp as the tissue stiffens under load. Inverse numerical analyses were performed to estimate the (unloaded) crimp angle and elastic modulus of collagen fibrils using a microstructure-based constitutive model.

Results: Compared with the control eye, the crimp angle was significantly higher in the treated eye after 2 days and remained significantly higher until 21 days of lens wear (P < 0.05). The difference between the crimp angle of the treated and control eye rapidly vanished during recovery in concert with the changes in axial elongation rate. A rapid and extensive increase in the elastic modulus was seen in both eyes after starting and stopping the lens wear.

Conclusions: The estimated change in the crimp of scleral collagen fibrils is temporally associated with the change in axial elongation rate during myopia development and recovery. This finding suggests that axial elongation may be controlled by a remodeling mechanism that modulates the collagen fibril crimp. The observed binocular changes in scleral stiffness are not temporally associated with the axial elongation rate, indicating that scleral stiffening may not be causally related to myopia.

Keywords: biomechanics; collagen crimp; myopia; remodeling; sclera.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibrillar Collagens / physiology
  • Lens, Crystalline / physiology*
  • Myopia / physiopathology*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Refraction, Ocular / physiology
  • Sclera / physiology*
  • Sensory Deprivation
  • Tupaiidae / physiology*


  • Fibrillar Collagens