Eye rotation induced dynamics of a Newtonian fluid within the vitreous cavity: The effect of the chamber shape

Alessandro Stocchino, Rodolfo Repetto, Chiara Cafferata

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39 Citations (Scopus)


The dynamics of the vitreous body induced by eye rotations is studied experimentally. In particular, we consider the case in which the vitreous cavity is filled by a Newtonian fluid, either because the vitreous is liquefied or because it has been replaced, after vitrectomy, by a viscous fluid. We employ a rigid Perspex container which models, in a magnified scale, the vitreous cavity of the human eye. The shape of the cavity closely resembles that of the real vitreous chamber; in particular, the anterior part of the container is concave in order to model the presence of the eye lens. The container is filled with glycerol and is mounted on the shaft of a computer-controlled motor which rotates according to a periodic time law. PIV (particle image velocimetry) measurements are taken on the equatorial plane orthogonal to the axis of rotation. The experimental measurements show that the velocity field is strongly influenced by the deformed geometry of the domain. In particular, the formation of a vortex in the vicinity of the lens, which migrates in time towards the core of the domain, is invariably observed. The vortex path is tracked in time by means of a vortex identification technique and it is found that it is significantly influenced by the Womersley number of the flow. Particle trajectories are computed from the PIV measurements. Particles initially located at different positions on the equatorial horizontal plane (perpendicular to the axis of rotation) tend to concentrate in narrow regions adjacent to the lens, thus suggesting the existence, in such regions, of a vertical fluid ejection. Such a strong flow three-dimensionality, which is essentially induced by the irregular shape of the domain, may play a significant role in the mixing processes taking place inside the eye globe. The tangential stresses acting on the rigid boundary of the domain are also computed from the experimental measurements showing that regions subject to particularly intense stresses exist along the boundary close to the lens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number016
Pages (from-to)2021-2034
Number of pages14
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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