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In Vivo Application of Ultra-short Laser Pulses in Refractive Surgery in Rabbit Eyes

1Heisterkamp A., 2Mamom T., 2Drommer W., 3Kermani O., 4Ertmer W., 1Lubatschowski H.,
1Laserzentrum Hannover e.V. (Hannover)
2Institut für Pathologie, Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (Hannover)
3Laserforum Köln e. V. (Köln)
4Institut für Quantenoptik, Universität Hannover (Hannover)

Ultrashort laser pulses offer the possibility of performing intrastromal cuts inside the cornea of the eye, while leaving the anterior layers intact. Due to the small pulse energies of some microjoules and the very short pulse duration in the range of some hundred femtoseconds, the collateral damage to the surrounding tissue is minimised. Thus, the fs-lasers can be used instead of the mechanical keratom for producing corneal flaps. Additionally, when reducing the pulse energy under very tight focusing below a microjoule, intrastromal lenticules for vision correction can be created. In this presentation the potential of the fs-laser applications in refractive surgery will be evaluated in living animals. Therefore, laser pulses of 150 fs pulse duration and energies around 1 µJ are used to create intrastromal flaps and lenticules in vivo. Following the extraction of the lenticule the woundhealing reactions are studied by histological and macroscopic analysis up to several months. Furthermore, different cutting geometries for corneal flaps performed in vivo will be presented. The results confirm the very small mechanical and thermal side-effects of the fs-laser application. Because of the very short pulse duration several nonlinear effects were observed and will be classified with respect to their impact on the treated tissue. In conclusion, ultrashort laser pulses are an attractive tool for refractive surgery, especially, for creating corneal flaps and lenticules.