We used computer-assisted videokeratography to compare the topographies of 32 corneas from 23 subjects after radial keratotomy with those of 47 normal corneas from 47 subjects controlled for age and preoperative keratometric and refractive power. Three ophthalmologists independently classified color-coded videokeratographs based on the color-coded pattern of dioptric power distribution and the cross-sectional shape. Corneas that had radial keratotomy exhibited a polygonal pattern not seen in normal eyes; this occurred in 59% of corneas. All normal corneas demonstrated a cross-sectional shape configuration that was steeper centrally than peripherally; 79% of corneas after radial keratotomy had a shape that was flatter centrally than peripherally. After radial keratotomy, the dioptric power increased from the center to the periphery (radius of approximately 4.6 mm) by 2.8 +/- 2.2 diopters (mean +/- SD), with a sharp inflection zone ("paracentral knee") 2.7 mm from the center; normal corneas showed a smooth decrease in power from the center to the periphery of 1.9 +/- 0.5 diopters.