Exploring the Vitreoretinal Interface: A Key Instigator of Unique Retinal Hemorrhage Patterns in Pediatric Head Trauma
Purpose: Various types of trauma can cause retinal hemorrhages in children, including accidental and nonaccidental head trauma. We used animal eyes and a finite element model of the eye to examine stress patterns produced during purely linear and angular accelerations, along with stresses attained during simulated repetitive shaking of an infant. Methods: Using sheep and primate eyes, sclerotomy windows were created by removing the sclera, choroid, and retinal pigment epithelium to expose the retina. A nanofiber square was glued to a 5 mm2 area of retina. The square was pulled and separated from vitreous while force was measured. A finite element model of the pediatric eye was used to computationally measure tension stresses during shaking. Results: In both sheep and primate eyes, tension stress required for separation of retina from vitreous range from 1 to 5 kPa. Tension stress generated at the vitreoretinal interface predicted by the computer simulation ranged from 3 to 16 kPa during a cycle of shaking. Linear acceleration generated lower tension stress than angular acceleration. Angular acceleration generated maximal tension stress along the retinal vasculature. Linear acceleration produced more diffuse force distribution centered at the poster pole. Conclusions: The finite element model predicted that tension stress attained at the retina during forcible shaking of an eye can exceed the minimum threshold needed to produce vitreoretinal separation as measured in animal eyes. Furthermore, the results show that movements that involve significant angular acceleration produce strong stresses localized along the vasculature, whereas linear acceleration produces weaker, more diffuse stress centered towards the posterior pole of the eye.
Materials and Methods