Laser assisted corneal surgeries often rely on the nonlinear absorption effect of ultrafast lasers to induce features in the interior of the cornea without affecting the surface. In particular, corneal flap formation in femtosecond assisted Laser- Assisted in situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is based on the bubble creation. This study focuses on the interaction between the tissue and the femtosecond laser. Interior of cornea is treated with tightly focused femtosecond laser pulses. Due to the nature of the process, heating of the tissue within and around the focal volume is practically instantaneous. The affected region is subject to thermoelastic stress that arises with the steep temperature elevation. To predict the size of the region subject to the morphological changes due to the laser treatment, the temperature field is calculated. Cavitation bubble initiation and expansion process, which acts as precursor to the stress induced tissue trauma, is studied as well. Theoretical findings are compared against experimental results. High-speed camera is utilized to assess the laser treatment process, showing the temporal development of the cavitation bubbles. The results obtained in this study facilitate a better understanding of the effects of femtosecond laser assisted corneal surgeries and help in choosing optimal laser parameters.
Collagen cross-linking in cornea has the capability of enhancing its mechanical properties and thereby providing an alternative treatment for eye diseases such as keratoconus. Currently, riboflavin assisted UVA light irradiation is a method of choice for cross-link induction in eyes. However, ultrafast pulsed laser interactions may be a powerful alternative enabling in-depth treatment while simultaneously diminishing harmful side effects such as, keratocyte apoptosis. In this study, femtosecond laser is utilized for treatment of bovine cornea slices. It is hypothesized that nonlinear absorption of femtosecond laser pulses plays a major role in the maturation of immature cross-links and the promotion of their growth. Targeted irradiation with tightly focused laser pulses allows for the absence of a photosensitizing agent. Inflation test was conducted on half treated porcine cornea to identify the changes of mechanical properties due to laser treatment. Raman spectroscopy was utilized to study subtle changes in the chemical composition of treated cornea. The effects of treatment are analyzed by observing shifts in Amide I and Amide III bands, which suggest deformation of the collagen structure in cornea due to presence of newly formed cross-links.