Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of laser welding to close corneal wounds in cataract surgery. Setting: Department of Ophthalmology, Hospital of Misericordia e Dolce, Prato, Italy. Methods: This retrospective nonrandomized interventional case series included 20 eyes of 20 patients. All eyes had cataract with visual acuity worse than 20/200. Ten patients had phacoemulsification surgery, and 10 had extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE). Surgeries were followed by laser-assisted closure of the corneal wounds by diode laser welding of the stroma using a technique established in animal models. Preoperative and postoperative (1, 3, 7, 30, and 90 days) astigmatism, level of inflammation, Seidel testing, and endothelial cell counts were obtained. Results: There were minor differences in preoperative and postoperative astigmatism except in 1 eye in the ECCE group. The Seidel test showed no wound leakage during the follow-up examinations, and endothelial cell loss was similar to that published for standard surgical cataract procedures. No collateral effects of the laser welding were detected, nor was postoperative inflammation. Conclusions: Astigmatism was slightly affected by the use of laser welding for corneal wound closure after phacoemulsification and ECCE. The laser-assisted corneal sealing procedure was rapid and safe and could serve as an alternative to corneal suturing, with significant potential applications for the closure of longer incisions, such as those used in penetrating keratoplasty.
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