Lasers in Ophthalmology
The eye is a transparent organ, and for the past 200 years its structural elements could be viewed by optical devices such as ophthalmoscopes and slit-lamp biomicroscopes. With the emergence of coherentlight sources, early efforts were made to use such sources in order to affect disease processes in the eye. Early on, other properties of laser were found to be helpful in the treatment of eye disease. Small spot sizes made it possible to avoid exposing unwanted structures. Coherence of light was found to be synonymous with a significant decrease of collateral damage to surrounding tissues. The ability to reflect visible laser light off mirrors made it possible to treat ocular structures that would otherwise be unreachable. The ability to drive coherent light through flexible optical fibers also made it possible to use lasers in the operating room, both with “open-sky” and endoscopic techniques.