A new method of treating soft cataracts by laser irradiation is described ("laser-phakopuncture"). Rupture of the lens capsule can be produced by a strong laser pulse focused on the anterior surface of the lens. This is followed by gradual reabsorption of the lens substance (in much the same manner as with a conventional discission procedure). Pigment deposits on the capsule are usually necessary to ensure sufficient absorption of light energy at the target point. The laser beam can also be employed in a preliminary procedure to produce such pigmented spots, and to prepare the eye for a subsequent laser-phakopuncture. The method was first investigated experimentally on animal eyes. The so-called Q-switched lasers proved to be most effective in producing a tear in the capsule. It was then tried clinically in nine juvenile patients and reabsorption of the lens substance was the eventual result in all cases, although full visual acuity was achieved in only tow of them. These of lasers offers a completely new approach to the treatment of cataract without surgery.
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