The biomechanical properties of the posterior sclera are thought to be important in glaucoma susceptibility. Assessment of the posterior sclera biomechanics is currently unavailable In vivo but methods are being developed to characterize the biomechanical properties of the anterior portion of the eye. The objective of this study was to characterize the regional dynamic viscoelastic properties of porcine sclera to examine possible correlation between anterior and posterior sclera. Scleral strips were excised from the temporal region of the anterior and posterior portions of 16 porcine eyes. The scleral strips were tested in a humidity chamber at approximately 35° C. A cyclic strain was applied to the strips and the cyclic stress output was recorded. A ramp test was then conducted. The complex modulus of the anterior and posterior scleral were 2.2±1.7 and 0.5±0.5 MPa, the secant modulus at 1% were 1.63±1.46 and 0.48±0.36 MPa, and the dynamic viscosity were 0.06±0.04 and 0.01±0.03, respectively. However, a correlation between the anterior and posterior sclera has not been established. The anterior porcine sclera appeared to be stiffer than the posterior sclera, which was consistent with previous findings. The relationship between sclera collagen content and biomechanical properties will be investigated in future studies.
Throughout this experience, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and was challenged to develop skills to be a good researcher. I lost my fear to ask questions, developed careful, rigorous, and algorithmic thinking from conducting experiments, and regained my wonder for how complicated the world is. In addition, I learned that though research is incredibly important to conduct the knowledge of the human race, it is not something that I would prefer to make a career out of conducting research.
This opportunity has given me an experience that has shaped how I view the academic world. Conducting research has opened my mind to the complexity of the world and how to go about solving problems that there is truly no answer in a textbook or in the literature.
Academically, I am now more motivated to learn relevant material and soak up as much knowledge as I can so I am better able to design experiments that are effective and insightful with respect to the data gathered. Personally, I still have the same goals of being a physician; however, I am now equipped with a better understanding of how clinical questions and the advancement of patient care is advanced through the frontlines of research. I still have the same life goal of becoming a physician to help people live healthy lives; however, now I have more passion and desire as a result of understanding how the clinical knowledge is advanced through research.