Excimer laser surgery of the cornea

Am J Ophthalmol. 1983 Dec;96(6):710-5. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)71911-7.


The excimer laser, which produces light in the far-ultraviolet portion of the spectrum, allows precise removal of corneal tissue through a photochemical laser-tissue interaction. This interaction is not thermal and does not involve optical breakdown; rather, it directly breaks organic molecular bonds without tissue heating. We used this process of ablative photodecomposition to remove corneal tissue in a series freshly enucleated cow eyes. Applying the far-ultraviolet light in short intense pulses permitted us to control the depth of the incision with great precision. We found that 1 joule/cm2 ablates corneal tissue to a depth of 1 micron. Adjacent tissue suffered no thermal damage and the stromal lamellae adjacent to the incision showed no evidence of disorganization.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cornea / surgery*
  • Lasers*