Estimating outflow facility through pressure dependent pathways of the human eye

David W. Smith, Bruce S. Gardiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We develop and test a new theory for pressure dependent outflow from the eye. The theory comprises three main parameters: (i) a constant hydraulic conductivity, (ii) an exponential decay constant and (iii) a no-flow intraocular pressure, from which the total pressure dependent outflow, average outflow facilities and local outflow facilities for the whole eye may be evaluated. We use a new notation to specify precisely the meaning of model parameters and so model outputs. Drawing on a range of published data, we apply the theory to animal eyes, enucleated eyes and in vivo human eyes, and demonstrate how to evaluate model parameters. It is shown that the theory can fit high quality experimental data remarkably well. The new theory predicts that outflow facilities and total pressure dependent outflow for the whole eye are more than twice as large as estimates based on the Goldman equation and fluorometric analysis of anterior aqueous outflow. It appears likely that this discrepancy can be largely explained by pseudofacility and aqueous flow through the retinal pigmented epithelium, while any residual discrepancy may be due to pathological processes in aged eyes. The model predicts that if the hydraulic conductivity is too small, or the exponential decay constant is too large, then intraocular eye pressure may become unstable when subjected to normal circadian changes in aqueous production. The model also predicts relationships between variables that may be helpful when planning future experiments, and the model generates many novel testable hypotheses. With additional research, the analysis described here may find application in the differential diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of glaucoma.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0188769
Number of pages53
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2017


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