BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: To comparatively assess the safety and variation in intraocular pressure (IOP) of two pulsed near-infrared lasers (titanium:sapphire and alexandrite) for laser trabeculoplasty versus conventional blue-green argon laser trabeculoplasty in an animal model. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The left eyes of 15 healthy cats received a 180° laser trabeculoplasty treatment: 5 with a titanium:sapphire laser, 5 with an alexandrite laser, and 5 with an argon laser. Preoperatively and postoperatively, all animals underwent tonometry, gonioscopy, and slit-lamp examination. The cats were observed up to 12 weeks. Scanning electron microscopy and histologic examination were performed to evaluate potential alterations in the trabecular meshwork structure. RESULTS: IOP at 1 hour, 1 day, and 1 week following treatment was remarkably lower, irrespective of the laser source used. Following treatment with both near-infrared lasers, gonioscopy showed depigmentation underneath the area of the treated trabecular meshwork and histologic evaluation showed a decrease in pigment density. On scanning electron microscopy, damage to the trabecular meshwork structure could not be detected after treatment with near-infrared lasers. CONCLUSIONS: Near-infrared laser trabeculoplasty was found to be effective to temporarily lower IOP in cats. The lasers selectively altered pigment-containing cells, avoiding structural damage of the trabecular meshwork anatomy.
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