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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 19, Iss. 5 — Feb. 28, 2011
  • pp: 4653–4666

Effect of air-flow on the evaluation of refractive surgery ablation patterns

Carlos Dorronsoro, Silvia Schumacher, Pablo Pérez-Merino, Jan Siegel, Michael Mrochen, and Susana Marcos  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 19, Issue 5, pp. 4653-4666 (2011)

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An Allegretto Eye-Q laser platform (Wavelight GmbH, Erlangen, Germany) was used to study the effect of air-flow speed on the ablation of artificial polymer corneas used for testing refractive surgery patterns. Flat samples of two materials (PMMA and Filofocon A) were ablated at four different air flow conditions. The shape and profile of the ablated surfaces were measured with a precise non-contact optical surface profilometer. Significant asymmetries in the measured profiles were found when the ablation was performed with the clinical air aspiration system, and also without air flow. Increasing air-flow produced deeper ablations, improved symmetry, and increased the repeatability of the ablation pattern. Shielding of the laser pulse by the plume of smoke during the ablation of plastic samples reduced the central ablation depth by more than 40% with no-air flow, 30% with clinical air aspiration, and 5% with 1.15 m/s air flow. A simple model based on non-inertial dragging of the particles by air flow predicts no central shielding with 2.3 m/s air flow, and accurately predicts (within 2 μm) the decrease of central ablation depth by shielding. The shielding effects for PMMA and Filofocon A were similar despite the differences in the ablation properties of the materials and the different full-shielding transmission coefficient, which is related to the number of particles ejected and their associated optical behavior. Air flow is a key factor in the evaluation of ablation patterns in refractive surgery using plastic models, as significant shielding effects are found with typical air-flow levels used under clinical conditions. Shielding effects can be avoided by tuning the air flow to the laser repetition rate.

© 2011 OSA

OCIS Codes
(170.1020) Medical optics and biotechnology : Ablation of tissue
(170.3890) Medical optics and biotechnology : Medical optics instrumentation
(220.1000) Optical design and fabrication : Aberration compensation
(330.4460) Vision, color, and visual optics : Ophthalmic optics and devices
(330.5370) Vision, color, and visual optics : Physiological optics

ToC Category:
Medical Optics and Biotechnology

Original Manuscript: December 20, 2010
Revised Manuscript: February 2, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: February 2, 2011
Published: February 24, 2011

Virtual Issues
Vol. 6, Iss. 3 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Carlos Dorronsoro, Silvia Schumacher, Pablo Pérez-Merino, Jan Siegel, Michael Mrochen, and Susana Marcos, "Effect of air-flow on the evaluation of refractive surgery ablation patterns," Opt. Express 19, 4653-4666 (2011)

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