Laser myopic keratomileusis (photorefractive keratectomy) was performed on 29 rhesus monkey corneas with an argon fluoride (193-nm) excimer laser and a computer-controlled, moving slit delivery system. The 4-mm-diameter central ablation zone ranged in depth from 11 microns (-2 diopters effect) to 46 microns (-8 diopters effect). Corneas were studied for the 9 months postoperatively by clinical slit-lamp microscopy, and periodically with light and transmission electron microscopy. By 6 weeks, mild to moderate subepithelial haze was apparent in 93% of the corneas, with considerable variability in density. Progressive clearing occurred so that by 6 to 9 months 12 of 13 surviving corneas (92%) were either completely clear (4 corneas) or trace hazy (8 corneas). The epithelium was thickened at 21 days after ablation and returned to normal thickness by 3 months. At 3 weeks, subepithelial fibroblasts were three times the density of normal keratocytes and returned to nearly normal numbers by 9 months. We concluded that the anterior monkey cornea demonstrated a mild, typical wound healing response after excimer laser keratomileusis.