Surface Quality of Excimer Laser Corneal Ablation with Different Frequencies

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To test the effects of different frequencies of a 193-nm excimer laser on the surface smoothness of the ablated materials and the damage to the adjacent structure, four different frequencies (5, 10, 15, and 20 Hz) of a 193-nm excimer laser were used to perform ablations on 20 rabbit corneas and four polymethylmethacrylate blocks at a fluence of 160 mJ/cm2. Each frequency was tested five times on five corneas. The ablated materials were processed and examined with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and light and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and a Zygo interference microscope, which quantitatively evaluates the surface smoothness. The results from the Zygo microscope show that there is no statistically significant difference in surface smoothness between any two different frequencies. The SEM reveals similar regularity and uniformity on the ablated surfaces, with no relationship between the laser frequencies and the amount of surface deposits. The TEM demonstrates no correlation between the various frequencies and the thickness of the superficial pseudomembrane and the amount of collateral damage in the adjacent stroma. It appears that the higher frequencies are comparable to the lower one (5 Hz) as to ablation quality, with the benefit of curtailing surgical time and decreasing the chances of eye movement.

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