Characterization of novel microsphere chain fiber optic tips for potential use in ophthalmic laser surgery.
Ophthalmic surgery may benefit from use of more precise fiber delivery systems during laser surgery. Some current ophthalmic surgical techniques rely on tedious mechanical dissection of tissue layers. In this study, chains of sapphire microspheres integrated into a hollow waveguide distal tip are used for erbium:YAG laser ablation studies in contact mode with ophthalmic tissues, ex vivo. The laser's short optical penetration depth combined with the small spot diameters achieved with this fiber probe may provide more precise tissue removal. One-, three-, and five-microsphere chain structures were characterized, resulting in FWHM diameters of 67, 32, and 30 μm in air, respectively, with beam profiles comparable to simulations. Single Er:YAG pulses of 0.1 mJ and 75-μs duration produced ablation craters with average diameters of 44, 30, and 17 μm and depths of 26, 10, and 8 μm, for one-, three-, and five-sphere structures, respectively. Microsphere chains produced spatial filtering of the multimode Er:YAG laser beam and fiber, providing spot diameters not otherwise available with conventional fiber systems. Because of the extremely shallow treatment depth, compact focused beam, and contact mode operation, this probe may have potential for use in dissecting epiretinal membranes and other ophthalmic tissues without damaging adjacent retinal tissue.
Hutchens, TC; Darafsheh, A; Fardad, A; Antoszyk, AN; Ying, HS; Astratov, VN; Fried, NM
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