Photorefractive keratectomy was performed at three centers using the 193-nm excimer laser on 31 sighted myopic eyes. Preoperative refractive errors (spherical equivalent) ranged from -12.00 to -4.00 diopters (D) (mean, -6.49 +/- 1.75 D). Peribulbar anesthesia, a 5.2- to 6.0-mm beam diameter, and topical corticosteroids were used for up to 6 months after surgery. The epithelium healed within 3 to 4 days, and all patients returned to their best corrected visual acuity within 1 line of their preoperative acuity. There was minimal subepithelial reticular haze, peaking at 3 weeks and diminishing over the next 3 to 4 months, which was not felt to be visually significant. At 6 months, the average residual refractive error was -1.85 +/- 2.5 D. Sixty-eight percent of eyes were corrected within 2 D and 55% within 1 D of attempted correction. There was no significant change in astigmatism, contrast sensitivity, corneal sensation, or endothelial cell counts. This preliminary work shows that photorefractive keratectomy has promise in the reduction of moderate myopia.