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September 1987

High-Speed Photography of Excimer Laser Ablation of the Cornea

Author Affiliations

From the Laser Research Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (Drs Puliafito, Krueger, and Mandel and Mr Stern), and the Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School (Dr Puliafito), Boston.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1987;105(9):1255-1259. doi:10.1001/archopht.1987.01060090113039

• We have used laser-based highspeed photography to investigate excimer laser ablation of the cornea. Photographs of the ablation plume were obtained 500 ns to 150 μs after incidence of a 193- or 248-nm excimer laser pulse on the surface of the cornea. Ejection of material from the cornea begins on a time scale of nanoseconds and continues for 5 to 15 μs following the excimer pulse. At 193 nm the ablation plume resembles a burst of smoke, and individual particles are too small to be optically resolved with our apparatus. At 248 nm the plume resembles a spray of larger, discrete droplets. Material is ejected from the cornea at supersonic velocity but decelerates rapidly; the velocity for the first 500 ns following the excimer pulse averages 400 m/s at 193 nm. Plume size and velocity increase with increasing fluence.