Temperature-controlled retinal photocoagulation - A step toward automated laser treatment

Stefan Koinzer*, Kerstin Schlott, Lars Ptaszynski, Marco Bever, Susanne Kleemann, Mark Saeger, Alexander Baade, Amke Caliebe, Yoko Miura, Reginald Birngruber, Ralf Brinkmann, Johann Roider

*Corresponding author for this work
19 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE. Retinal laser photocoagulation carries the risk of overtreatment due to effect variation of identically applied lesions. The degree of coagulation depends on the induced temperature increase and on exposure time. We introduce temperature controlled photocoagulation (TCP), which uses optoacoustics to determine individually exposure times necessary to create reproducible lesions. METHODS. Optoacoustic temperature measurement relies on pressure waves that are excited in the retinal tissue by repetitive low-energy laser pulses. Signal amplitudes correlate with tissue temperature and are detected by a transducer in the laser contact lens. We used a continuous wave (CW) photocoagulator for treatment irradiation and superimposed probe laser pulses for simultaneous temperature measurement. Optoacoustic data of 1500 lesions (rabbit) were evaluated to develop an algorithm that controls exposure times automatically in TCP. Lesion diameters of 156 TCP lesions were compared to 156 non-controlled lesions. Histology was performed after 1 hour, and 1 and 4 weeks. RESULTS. TCP resulted in exposure times from 4 to 800 ms depending on laser power chosen. Ophthalmoscopic and histologic lesion diameters were independent of power between 14 and 200 mW. TCP lesions barely were visible with a mean diameter equal to the treatment beam (130 lm). In contrast, standard lesion diameters increased linearly and statistically significantly with power. Histology confirmed sparing of the ganglion and nerve fiber layers in TCP. CONCLUSIONS. TCP facilitates uniform retinal lesions over a wide power range. In a clinical setting, it should generate soft and reproducible lesions independently of local tissue variation and improve safety, particularly at short exposure times.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)3605-3614
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2012


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