We characterized the structural and mechanical changes after experimental digestion of sulfated glycosaminoglycans (s-GAGs) in the human posterior sclera, using ultrasound thickness measurements and an inflation test with three-dimensional digital image correlation (3D-DIC). Each scleral specimen was first incubated in a buffer solution to return to full hydration, inflation tested, treated in a buffer solution with chondroitinase ABC (ChABC), then inflation tested again. After each test series, the thickness of eight locations was measured. After enzymatic treatment, the average scleral thickness decreased by 13.3% (p < 0.001) and there was a stiffer overall stress–strain response (p < 0.05). The stress–strain response showed a statistically significant increase in the low-pressure stiffness, high-pressure stiffness and hysteresis. Thus, s-GAGs play a measurable role in the mechanical behaviour of the posterior human sclera.
- Received May 11, 2016.
- Accepted June 6, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
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