, Volume 68, Issue 1, pp 53-71

Fluid Mechanics of the Human Eye: Aqueous Humour Flow in The Anterior Chamber

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Abstract

We consider and compare the various different kinds of flow that may take place in the anterior chamber of a human eye. The physical mechanisms responsible for causing such flows may be classified as follows: (i) buoyancy-driven flow arising from the temperature difference between the anterior surface of the cornea and the iris, (ii) flow generated by the aqueous production of the ciliary body, (iii) flow generated by the interaction between buoyancy and gravity while sleeping while sleeping in a face-up position, (iv) flow generated by phakodenesis (lens tremor), (v) flow generated by Rapid Eye Movement (REM) during sleep. Each flow is studied using a traditional fluid mechanics/asymptotic analysis approach. We also assess the veracity of a hypothesis that was recently advanced [see Maurice, D.M., 1998. The Von Sallman Lecture 1996: An ophthalmological explanation of REM sleep. Exp. Eye. Res. 66, 139–145, for details] to suggest that, contrary to previous opinion, the purpose of REM during sleep is to ensure corneal respiration in the absence of the buoyant mixing that routinely takes place due to (i) above during waking conditions.