We evaluated the efficacy, safety, and stability of femtosecond laser intrastromal refractive procedures in ex vivo and in vivo models. When compared with longer pulsewidth nanosecond or picosecond laser pulses, femtosecond laser-tissue interactions are characterized by significantly smaller and more deterministic photodisruptive energy thresholds, as well as reduced shock waves and smaller cavitation bubbles. We utilized a highly reliable, all-solid-state femtosecond laser system for all studies to demonstrate clinical practicality. Contiguous tissue effects were achieved by scanning a 5 μm focused laser spot below the corneal surface at pulse energies of approximately 2 - 4 microjoules. A variety of scanning patterns was used to perform three prototype procedures in animal eyes; corneal flap cutting, keratomileusis, and intrastromal vision correction. Superior dissection and surface quality results were obtained for lamellar procedures (corneal flap cutting and keratomileusis). Preliminary in vivo evaluation of intrastromal vision correction in a rabbit model revealed consistent and stable pachymetry changes, without significant inflammation or loss of corneal transparency. We conclude that femtosecond laser technology may be able to perform a variety of corneal refractive procedures with high precision, offering advantages over current mechanical and laser devices and techniques.