A high-accuracy and high-efficiency digital volume correlation method to characterize in-vivo optic nerve head biomechanics from optical coherence tomography

Acta Biomater. 2022 Apr 15;143:72-86. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2022.02.021. Epub 2022 Feb 20.


In-vivo optic nerve head (ONH) biomechanics characterization is emerging as a promising way to study eye physiology and pathology. We propose a high-accuracy and high-efficiency digital volume correlation (DVC) method to characterize the in-vivo ONH deformation from optical coherence tomography (OCT) volumes. Using a combination of synthetic tests and analysis of OCTs from monkey ONHs subjected to acutely elevated intraocular pressure, we demonstrate that our proposed methodology overcame several challenges for conventional DVC methods: First, a pre-registration technique was used to remove large ONH rigid body motion in OCT volumes which could lead to analysis failure; second, a modified 3D inverse-compositional Gaussian Newton method was used to ensure sub-voxel accuracy of displacement calculations despite high noise and low image contrast of some OCT volumes; third, a tricubic B-spline interpolation method was applied to improve computational efficiency; fourth, a confidence parameter was introduced to guide the searching path in the displacement calculation; fifth, a confidence-weighted strain calculation method was applied to further improve the accuracy. The proposed DVC method had displacement errors smaller than 0.037 and 0.028 voxels with Gaussian and speckle noises, respectively. The strain errors in the three directions were less than 0.0045 and 0.0018 with Gaussian and speckle noises, respectively. Compared with the conventional DVC method, the proposed method reduced the errors of displacement and strain calculations by up to 70% under large body motions, with 75% lower computation time, while saving about 30% memory. Our study demonstrates the potential of the proposed technique to investigate ONH biomechanics. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: The biomechanics of the optic nerve head (ONH) in the posterior pole of the globe play a central role in eye physiology and pathology. The application of digital volume correlation (DVC) to the analysis of optical coherence tomography (OCT) images of the ONH has emerged as a promising way to quantify ONH biomechanics. Conventional DVC methods, however, face several important challenges when analyzing OCT images of the ONH. We introduce a high-accuracy and high-efficiency DVC method to characterize in vivo ONH deformations from OCT volumes. We demonstrate the new method using synthetic tests and actual OCT data from monkey ONHs. The new method also has the potential to be used to study other tissues, as OCT applications continue to expand.

Keywords: Deformation characterization; Digital volume correlation; Optic nerve head; Optical coherence tomography; Rigid body motion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Optic Disk* / diagnostic imaging
  • Optic Disk* / physiology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods