Lasers can be used for binding tissues by welding, but the clinical application of this method has been limited by the difficulties in defining and maintaining the optimal conditions. Fiberoptic radiometry allows accurate remote temperature measurements for control of laser tissue welding. We evaluated the use of a temperature-controlled tissue welding system to close corneal and corneoscleral wounds. Eighty ex vivo bovine eyes were used for the determination of welding parameters optimal for corneal wound closure. A 4 mm central corneal cut was closed with use of a CO2 laser (600 mw, 0.9 mm spot size), with tissue temperatures ranging from 45-70 degrees C and welding time ranging from 1-30 seconds. Wound strength was measured as burst pressure of the sealed wound. The welding parameters found to cause the strongest wound binding were used to weld a limbal incision of 4 mm in 10 adult albino rabbits. The fellow eye of each animal was used as a control, and the same wound was closed with one 10/0 mersilen suture. Two animals were killed immediately after the procedure, and the eyes were sent for histologic examination. Eight rabbits were followed for 1 month. Clinical examination and refraction were done 1 day, 1 week, 2 weeks, and 1 month after the procedure. Corneal topographic evaluations were done 1 week after the procedure. After 1 month the animals were killed and the eyes were examined histologically. The optimal results of wound binding by laser welding in the enucleated bovine eyes were achieved with 55-60 degrees C and at a welding time of 12-20 seconds. At these parameters the burst pressure of corneal wounds was 70 mm Hg. All laser-welded limbal wounds in the rabbits were tightly closed at the end of procedure and during the follow-up period. The refractive results after laser welding were equal to those of the controlled suture-closed wound. Laser tissue welding combined with tissue temperature monitoring can be used to close corneal wounds.