Conjunctivochalasis is a common cause of tear dysfunction due to the conjunctiva becoming loose and wrinkly with age. The current solutions to this disease include either surgical excision in the operating room, or thermoreduction of the loose tissue with hot wire in the clinic. We developed a near-infrared laser thermal conjunctivoplasty system. The system utilizes a 1460-nm programmable laser diode system as the light source. At this wavelength, a water absorption peak exists and the blood absorption is minimal, so the heating of redundant conjunctiva is even and there is no bleeding. A miniaturized handheld probe delivers the laser light and reshapes the laser into a 10 × 1 mm2 line on the working plane. A foot pedal is used to deliver a preset number of calibrated laser pulses. A fold of loose conjunctiva is grasped by a pair of forceps. The NIR laser light is delivered through an optical fiber and a laser line is aimed exactly on the conjunctival fold by a cylindrical lens. Ex vivo experiments using porcine eye was performed to investigate the induced shrinkage of conjunctiva and decide the optimal laser parameters. It was found that up to 45% of conjunctiva shrinkage could be achieved.
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