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J Biomed Opt. 2005 Mar-Apr;10(2):024004.

Experimental study on the healing process following laser welding of the cornea.

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Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Fisica Applicata, Firenze, Italy.


An experimental study evaluating the application of laser welding of the cornea and the subsequent healing process is presented. The welding of corneal wounds is achieved after staining the cut walls with a solution of the chromophore indocyanine green, and irradiating them with a diode laser (810 nm) operating at low power (60 to 90 mW). The result is a localized heating of the cut, inducing controlled welding of the stromal collagen. In order to optimize this technique and to study the healing process, experimental tests, simulating cataract surgery and penetrating keratoplasty, were performed on rabbits: conventional and laser-induced suturing of corneal wounds were thus compared. A follow-up study 7 to 90 days after surgery was carried out by means of objective and histological examinations, in order to optimize the welding technique and to investigate the subsequent healing process. The analyses of the laser-welded corneas evidenced a faster and more effective restoration of the architecture of the stroma. No thermal damage of the welded stroma was detected, nor were there foreign body reactions or other inflammatory processes.

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