Ultrafast laser, OCT, and adaptive optics combine for accurate ophthalmic laser surgery

A new project led by Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH; Germany) is working to combine femtosecond laser technology with optical coherence tomography (OCT) and adaptive optics to expand upon ophthalmic laser surgery.

Related: Novel ophthalmic imaging with adaptive optics, confocal imaging, and OCT

In the Innovative Cataract, Presbyopia and Retinal Treatment Using Ultrashort Laser Pulses (IKARUS) project, LZH and four project partners are using a femtosecond laser for precise lens cutting, creating slip planes and thus making the lens more flexible. For effective eye tissue visualization, LZH's Image Guided Laser Surgery Group has adapted an OCT imaging unit from ophthalmology laser maker ROWIAK (Hannover), which images the cutting of the eye as well as the laser beam delivery during the operation. Within the project, cuts into the eye have already been done without damaging neither the front nor the rear part of the lens capsule. In current clinical studies, the company is further examining this process.

3D OCT projection of a femtosecond laser membrane cut (symbolic laser focus in red). The membrane in blue is only 300 µm from the prepared porcine retina in brown. Individual images from the middle show the geometry. (Illustration: LZH)

To remove retina adhesions, the scientists integrated adaptive optics into the femtosecond laser system to be able to cut close to the retina. In a study using the retina of pig eyes, the system could cut model membranes only a few hundred micrometers away from the retina—and the retina tissue directly behind it showed no noticeable damage.

For more information, please visit www.ukp-laser.de.

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