Ablation dynamics in laser sclerostomy Ab externo by means of pulsed lasers in the mid-infrared spectral range

Ralf Brinkmann*, Gerit Dröge, Frank Schröer, Manfred Scheu, Reginald Birngruber

*Corresponding author for this work
9 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Sclerostomy ab externo with pulsed laser systems is currently in phase II clinical trials. The authors investigated the ablation dynamics of tissue treated with pulsed laser systems in the mid- infrared range to estimate the extent of thermo-mechanical damage to the sclera and the anterior chamber. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Freshly harvested porcine eyes were used. A bare 400-μm fiber in direct contact with tissue was used for fistulization. Polarization light microscopy, fast-flash photography, as well as optical and acoustic transients were performed for analysis. RESULTS: Substantial mechanical tissue deformation and dissections were found during pulsed laser ablation. The mechanical damage range within tissue far exceeds the pure thermal damage zone. Aspheric cavitation bubbles of up to 3 mm in length penetrate the anterior chamber after perforation. The cavitation demonstrates a significantly larger time constant in tissue than in water. CONCLUSIONS: Early fistula occlusions due to iris adherences may be attributed to iris trauma caused by cavitation. In response to the findings of this study, the authors propose an automatic feedback system to control the ablation process and minimize secondary ocular tissue effects. With respect to the overall damage zones, a new continuous-wave, mid-infrared diode laser system seems to be superior to pulsed laser systems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOphthalmic Surgery and Lasers
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)853-865
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 10.1997

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Biomedical Engineering


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