ABSTRACT Intraocular lens (IOLs) implants are synthetic lenses used to replace the natural lens of the eye and obtain optical reha- bilitation. The materials and methods of IOLs fabrication have been correlated with postoperative complications such as diffractive aberrations, capsular opacification or discoloration. Thus, several new materials and patterns are studied for the formation and etching of intraocular lenses (IOLs). In our work, we studied the use of UV laser as an alternative method to conventional surface shaping techniques for IOLs etching. Ablation experiments were conducted on hydrophobic acrylic IOLs by a commercial excimer laser system used in photorefractive surgery. The morphology of the irradiated area was observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and a mathematical algorithm was used for SEM image processing. The effect of IOLs exposure to UV light before excimer laser irradiation was also examined, since natural ageing and cross-linking of IOLs material were reported. Conical structures were revealed after UV laser ablation and their population was increased with the number of laser pulses. Period distribution of cones was measured with the combination of image processing and a scanning algorithm which was developed for this reason. According to the graphs, the mean period and the distribution of the cones was depending of the number of irradiation pulses and the exposure to UV lamp before laser irradiation. Although a photochemical and a theoretically smooth-surface ablation mechanism is considered for the UV excimer laser interaction with polymers, surface conical-like abnormalities and thermal degradation of the lenses materials was observed.
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