Mechanical analysis of eyelid morphology

Liangliang ZHU, Xi CHEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


From a mechanical instability perspective a double eyelid is a double-folded thin film structure on a curved substrate, caused by compression as the film slides on the substrate. The underlying mechanics issues, in particular the requirements for forming a double folded structure, are studied using a modeling/ simulation framework. A minimalist model is employed to explore the wrinkle to fold transition. Refined and enriched models are further developed based on anatomical structures, which demonstrate three critical factors for the formation of double layer folding of the eyelid. First, a crease line in the eyelid is essential where the local bending rigidity is relatively weak. Second, the skin above the crease line should be thin and wide enough. Third, the skin below the crease line should have a relatively large effective stiffness so it can be lifted as a whole when the eyes open. When the eye is opened beyond about 40% of its initial wrinkle wavelength, the double-folded structure emerges. Various types of eyelid morphologies are discussed based on the mechanistic model. The study provides useful insights for surgery, cosmetics, and morphogenesis, as well as microfabrication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7968-7976
Number of pages9
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11172231), DARPA (W91CRB-11-C-0112), and the National Science Foundation (CMMI-0643726).


  • Eyelid
  • Folding
  • Thin film
  • Wrinkle


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