Abstract

A prototype frequency-quintupled Nd:YAG laser was used with a scanning system to create, on poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) blocks, ablations corresponding to a correction of 6 diopters of myopia by photorefractive keratectomy. The topography of the ablated samples was measured with an optical profilometer to evaluate the smoothness and accuracy of the ablations. The ablation depth was larger than expected. With a 50% to 70% spot overlap, large valleylike variations with a maximum peak-to-peak amplitude of 20 μm were observed. With an 80% spot overlap, the rms surface roughness was 1.3 μm, and the central flattening was 7 diopters. This study shows that optical profilometry can be used to determine precisely the ablation per pulse and the smoothness and accuracy of surface ablations. Knowing the exact ablation per pulse is necessary to produce a smooth and accurate corneal surface by scanning photorefractive keratectomy.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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