Laser photodisruption has become a routine non-invasive procedure for intraocular laser surgery. In most clinical applications of laser photodisruption, optical breakdown is achieved using Q-switched Nd:YAG laser pulses with energies of a few millijoules. These relatively high energies, necessary to achieve optical breakdown, produce explosive disruptions with collateral tissue damage extending to a radius of ~2 mm, a range that often cannot be tolerated in clinical procedures. The treatment of some diseases, e.g., vitreous strands or preretinal membranes, involves removing pathological structures that grow adjacent to the neural retina. The large damage zone associated with conventional nanosecond photodisruption limits its use to structures away from the very sensitive retina.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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