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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Optical coherence tomography for in situ monitoring of laser corneal ablation
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Paper Abstract

Objective. To improve the precision of refractive surgery, a new approach for determination of the removed corneal thickness profile in situ with laser ablation by optical coherence tomography (OCT) is developed. Study Design/Materials and Methods. The traditional method for precision (less than 10 µm) measurements of intraocular distances is based on the use of the reflected component of probing radiation. This component is characterized by a small range of operating angles between a probing beam and a normal to the surface under study. To enhance this range of operating angles we suggest using a light component backscattered from a biological object. This will enable precision measurements over the entire surface of the cornea without any changes in the orientation between a probing beam and the eye, a necessary condition for in situ monitoring of laser refraction correction in the eye. We suggest a specially developed algorithm of OCT signal processing to measure the corneal thickness by the backscattered light component for a single longitudinal scan (A scan). The corneal thickness profile is obtained by a series of such A scans acquired by successively scanning a probing beam along the corneal surface. The thickness profile of removed layer is determined by changes in the corneal thickness profile in the process of ablation. When the cornea is ablated by a beam with a fixed transverse profile, we propose using integral characteristics of the ablated layer profile, for example, the maximum ablation depth, as criteria of changes in refractive power of the eye. The measurement precision by these characteristics is considerably higher than by a single A scan. Since the cornea is a poorly scattering medium, the Fourier filtering is employed to increase reliability and precision of the method. Model experiments on monitoring the ablation process in a lavsan film and ex vivo human cornea are described. Preliminary experiments on in vivo measurements of human corneal thickness are performed. Results. In model experiments the precision of measurement of laser ablation depth by one A scan was 5–20 μm, depending on the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), whereas the precision of measurement of laser ablation depth as the integral characteristic of the ablated layer profile was 0.3–5 μm. The experimental results showed that at small SNR Fourier filtering might considerably increase reliability and precision of measurements. When SNR is high, the measurement precision does not change. The precision of measurements of the corneal thickness in preliminary in vivo experiments was higher than in ex vivo experiments. This factor is very promising for application of the method suggested herein in refractive surgery.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 October 2002
PDF: 10 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 7(4) doi: 10.1117/1.1501891
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 7, Issue 4
Show Author Affiliations
Roman V. Kuranov, Institute of Applied Physics (Russia)
Sergei N. Bagayev, Institute of Laser Physics (Russia)
Valentin M. Gelikonov, Institute of Applied Physics (Russia)
Grigory V. Gelikonov, Institute of Applied Physics (Russia)
Evgeny S. Kargapoltsev, Institute of Laser Physics (Russia)
Alexander M. Razhev, Institute of Laser Physics (Russia)
Ilya V. Turchin, Institute of Applied Physics (Russia)
Andrey A. Zhupikov, Institute of Laser Physics (Russia)

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