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J Refract Surg. 1996 Mar-Apr;12(3):401-11.

Excimer laser calibration system.

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Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md 21287-9135, USA.



Excimer laser photoablation for refractive and therapeutic keratectomies has been demonstrated to be feasible and practicable. However, corneal laser ablations are not without problems, including the delivery and maintenance of a homogeneous beam. We have developed an excimer laser calibration system capable of characterizing a laser ablation profile.


Beam homogeneity is determined by the analysis of a polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)-based thin-film using video capture and image processing. The ablation profile is presented as a color-coded map. Interpolation of excimer calibration system analysis provides a three-dimensional representation of elevation profiles that correlates with two-dimensional scanning profilometry. Excimer calibration analysis was performed before treating a monkey undergoing phototherapeutic keratectomy and two human subjects undergoing myopic spherocylindrical photorefractive keratectomy. Excimer calibration analysis was performed before and after laser refurbishing.


Laser ablation profiles in PMMA are resolved by the excimer calibration system to .006 microns/pulse. Correlations with ablative patterns in a monkey cornea were demonstrated with preoperative and postoperative keratometry using corneal topography, and two human subjects using video-keratography. Excimer calibration analysis predicted a central-steep-island ablative pattern with the VISX Twenty/Twenty laser, which was confirmed by corneal topography immediately postoperatively and at 1 week after reepithelialization in the monkey. Predicted central steep islands in the two human subjects were confirmed by video-keratography at 1 week and at 1 month. Subsequent technical refurbishing of the laser resulted in a beam with an overall increased ablation rate measured as microns/pulse with a donut ablation profile. A patient treated after repair of the laser electrodes demonstrated no central island.


This excimer laser calibration system can precisely detect laser-beam ablation profiles. The calibration system correctly predicted central islands after excimer photoablation in a treated monkey cornea and in two treated human subjects. Detection of excimer-laser-beam ablation profiles may be useful for precise calibration of excimer lasers before human photorefractive and therapeutic surgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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