We have used laser-based high-speed photography to investigate excimer laser ablation of the cornea. Photographs of the ablation plume were obtained 500 ns to 150 microseconds after incidence of a 193- or 248-nm excimer laser pulse on the surface of the cornea. Ejection of material from the cornea begins on a time scale of nanoseconds and continues for 5 to 15 microseconds following the excimer pulse. At 193 nm the ablation plume resembles a burst of smoke, and individual particles are too small to be optically resolved with our apparatus. At 248 nm the plume resembles a spray of larger, discrete droplets. Material is ejected from the cornea at supersonic velocity but decelerates rapidly; the velocity for the first 500 ns following the excimer pulse averages 400 m/s at 193 nm. Plume size and velocity increase with increasing fluence.