Laser scleral buckling (LSB) experiments were performed by irradiating human cadaver eyes with a focused beam from a 2.1-micrometer Ho:YAG laser. Spatially and temporally resolved temperature maps of the sclera were inferred from infrared images of the tissue's thermal radiation. An infrared focal-plane camera operating in the 3- to 5-micrometer wavelength interval was used for the measurements, from which we derived absorption and thermal diffusivity coefficients of the scleral tissue, along with the temperature dependence of these coefficients. A thermal-response model was developed, which describes the tissue surface temperature in response to a train of laser pulses, given the pulse repetition rate, beam fluence, spot size, and total energy delivered. This model provides guidance for optimization of laser-irradiation parameters for LSB treatment.