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A theoretical model for the laser-induced thermal lens effect in weakly absorbing media is derived. The model predicts the intensity variation in the far field of the laser beam in the presence of the lensing medium and takes into account the aberrant nature of the thermal lens. Some experimental results which support the validity of this approach are presented. The authors are with Brighamdoi:10.1364/ao.21.001663 pmid:20389913 fatcat:arcwdoc5pval3g5dra5u7ilcau