Excimer laser calibration system

John D. Gottsch, Erik V. Rencs, James L. Cambier, Deborah Hall, Dimitri T. Azar, Walter J. Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: 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. METHODS: 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. RESULTS: Laser ablation profiles in PMMA are resolved by the excimer calibration system to .006 μm/pulse. Correlations with ablative patterns in a monkey cornea were demonstrated with preoperative and postoperative keratometry using corneal topography, and two human subjects using videokeratography. 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 videokeratography 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 pro-file. A patient treated after repair of the laser electrodes demonstrated no central island. CONCLUSIONS: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-411
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Refractive Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Ophthalmology


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