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Lasers Surg Med. 1989;9(6):533-42.

Effect of excimer laser radiant exposure on uniformity of ablated corneal surface.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.


The argon fluoride (193 nm) excimer laser is being used to change the anterior corneal curvature for correction of refractive errors. Uniformity of the surface following laser ablation may play an important role in the rate of epithelial healing and amount and type of stromal scarring. To test the effect of radiant exposure (fluence) on surface smoothness, we ablated rabbit corneas with the 193 nm argon fluoride excimer laser at nine radiant exposures from 50 to 850 mJ/cm2. A total energy of 100 J/cm2 was used for each ablation at a frequency of 1 Hz. Scanning electron microscopy demonstrated progressive improvement of surface smoothness with increasing radiant exposures. Transmission electron microscopy demonstrated no consistent increase in thickness to the surface condensate (pseudomembrane) with increasing radiant exposure. Improvement in surface quality associated with increasing radiant exposures may result from a more uniform depth of ablation per pulse in the corneal lamellae that absorb laser wavelengths differently. Radiant exposures at levels where the depth of ablation is the same regardless of increasing energy densities achieve a more uniform surface because inhomogeneities in the beam and variation in energy from pulse to pulse do not affect the ablation rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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