Excimer photorefractive keratectomy was performed at three centers on 16 highly myopic eyes (8 diopters [D] or more) and followed up for 6 months. Ablation depths ranged from 137 to 230 microns. The preoperative spherical equivalent of myopia ranged from -8.62 D to -14.50 D (mean +/- SD, -11.57 +/- 1.62 D). Six months after surgery, the mean refraction (spherical equivalent) was -0.90 +/- 2.13 D. Eleven of 16 eyes achieved refractions within 2 D of that attempted. All eight patients at one site were treated with a maximum-beam diameter of 6.0 mm and were corrected to within 2 D of that attempted, and all were 20/40 or better uncorrected. Three of eight eyes at the other two sites were treated with a 5.5- or 5.6-mm maximum-beam diameter, which achieved corrections within 2 D of that attempted. The epithelium healed within 3 to 4 days, and there were no erosions. Mild subepithelial reticular haze, similar to that seen with excimer photorefractive keratectomy for lower myopia, was seen in all patients, with two patients experiencing more significant corneal haze. This peaked at 3 to 6 weeks and then gradually diminished. All but two patients had a return of their best corrected preoperative visual acuity to within one Snellen line at 6 months. This preliminary study shows excimer photorefractive keratectomy to be a promising surgical treatment for patients with higher myopia.