Commercially available intraocular lenses (IOLs) are manufactured from silicone and acrylic, both rigid (e.g. PMMA) and foldable (hydrophobic or hydrophilic acrylic biomaterials), behaving different mechanical and optical properties. Recently, the use of apodizing technology to design new diffractive–refractive multifocals improved the refractive outcome of these intraocular lenses, providing good distant and near vision. There is also a major ongoing effort to refine laser refractive surgery to correct other defects besides conventional refractive errors. Using phakic IOLs to treat high myopia potentially provides better predictability and optical quality than corneal-based refractive surgery. The aim of this work was to investigate the effect of laser ablation on IOL surface shaping, by drilling circular arrays of holes, with a homemade motorized rotation stage, and scattered holes on the polymer surface. In material science, the most popular lasers used for polymer machining are the UV lasers, and, therefore, we tried in this work the 3rd and the 5th harmonic of a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser (λ=355 nm and λ=213 nm respectively). The morphology of the ablated IOL surface was examined with a scanning electron microscope (SEM, Fei - Innova Nanoscope) at various laser parameters. Quantitative measurements were performed with a contact profilometer (Dektak-150), in which a mechanical stylus scanned across the surface of gold-coated IOLs (after SEM imaging) to measure variations in surface height and, finally, the ablation rates were also mathematically simulated for depicting the possible laser ablation mechanism(s). The experimental results and the theoretical modelling of UV laser interaction with polymeric IOLs are discussed in relation with the physical (optical, mechanical and thermal) properties of the material, in addition to laser radiation parameters (laser energy fluence, number of pulses). The qualitative aspects of laser ablation at λ=213 nm reveal a smooth optical surface on the intraocular lens with no irregularities, observed with other wavelengths.

© 2013 SPIE

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