Pulsed mid-infrared lasers emitting near the peak of the liquid water absorption at 2.9 µm have been of interest as possible sources for laser surgery of the cornea. To date the UV excimer laser has produced the least tissue damage, typically <1 µm, while damage zones of 5-50 μm have been reported for pulsed mid-infrared lasers.1,2 While minimal thermal damage is probably essential for procedures in the central, visually significant portion of the cornea, cutting outside the central region may not require such low damage. An example of such cutting is the removal of disks of cornea from donor eyes for corneal transplants. However a noncontact way of cutting such disks would be significant for minimizing mechanical damage to the cornea.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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