The argon fluoride excimer laser emits radiation in the far ultraviolet part of the electromagnetic spectrum (193 nm). Each photon has high individual energy. Exposure of materials or tissues with peak absorption around 193 nm results in removal of surface layers (photoablation) with extremely high precision and minimal damage to non-irradiated areas. This precision is confirmed in a series of experiments on cadaver eyes and the treatment of 25 eyes with anterior corneal disease (follow-up 6 to 30 months). Multiple zone excimer laser superficial keratectomy is considered the treatment of choice for rough, painful corneal surfaces. All patients in this group were pain-free postoperatively. Where good visual potential exists, ablation of a single axial zone is recommended and results in improved visual acuity and reduction of glare. A hyperopic shift was noted in this group.
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