Why submit to the Journal of Refractive Surgery?

  • The premier journal for refractive surgeons for over 30 years

  • Published for more than 30 years
  • Indexed in MEDLINE/PubMed, SCOPUS, and other major databases
  • 2014 Impact Factor: 3.468
  • Average time from submission to decision: 44 days
  • Average time from acceptance to online publication: 76 days

Submit an Article 

Authors wishing to submit a manuscript to the Journal should refer to the Information for Authors below and the links listed here related to manuscript submission, the public access policy, and author form.

Rapid Review Manuscript Submission (outside link)

SLACK Incorporated Public Access Policy (PDF)

Author Form

At manuscript submission, each author must complete and submit the form below. This combined Author Statement-ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest addresses copyright transmittal and any relevant disclosures.

Interactive Author Statement-ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest (interactive PDF - preferred)

  1. Download the form to your computer.
  2. Open the form in Adobe Acrobat Reader, fill it out, and then save it to your computer.
  3. Upload the form as a Form File with your manuscript submission in Rapid Review.

Note. Mac/Safari and Chrome users may have difficulty using the interactive form. These authors should use the Noninteractive Form, which must be printed, completed/signed, and then scanned and uploaded as a Form File with your manuscript submission in Rapid Review.

Information for Authors

Journal Description and Mission

The Journal of Refractive Surgery, the official journal of the International Society of Refractive Surgery, a partner of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is a monthly peer-reviewed forum for original research, review, and evaluation of refractive and lens-based surgical procedures. The Journal publishes practical, clinically valuable articles to provide readers with the most up-to-date information regarding advances in the field of refractive surgery. The Journal adheres to the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (2013) of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

Copyright and Permissions

Articles are accepted with the understanding that they have not previously been published and are not under simultaneous consideration by another publication. Previous publication of the abstract is acceptable. Publication of data or a detailed report in news media constitutes prior publication.

Before any manuscript can be considered for publication, the Author Statement-ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest must be completed by each author.

Authors must inform SLACK Incorporated if tables, photos, or illustrations have been previously published. If photographs are submitted with a manuscript, permission to publish must be obtained in writing from all individuals pictured. Drawings or computer-generated images submitted with a manuscript require permission to publish from the artist. Material reprinted from other publications (including electronic media and the Internet) must be accompanied by a letter of permission from the publisher, which extends non-exclusive worldwide rights to reprint the material for all forms of media now or hereafter developed to SLACK Incorporated. Content from US government websites (eg, NIH, CDC, USDHHS) is in the public domain and generally can be used without permission. However, some content on these sites may be from another source, in which case permission must be obtained from the copyright holder.

Conflict of Interest and Sponsorship

If the article discusses in any way a device, equipment, an instrument, or a drug, the author(s) must state whether they have any commercial or proprietary interest in the product or company. Likewise, they must reveal whether they have any financial interest as a consultant, reviewer, or evaluator.

If applicable, authors should describe the role of the study sponsor, if any, in study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing the report; and the decision to submit the report for publication. If the supporting source had no such involvement, the authors should state so. If applicable, authors must declare whether they had assistance with study design, data collection, data analysis, or manuscript preparation.

If the manuscript reports on a registered clinical trial and has been assigned a trial registration number from a public trials registry, authors should provide this information. If the manuscript reports the results of an experimental investigation of human or animal subjects, state formally that an appropriate institutional review board approved the project and/or that informed consent was obtained from the subjects after the nature of procedure(s) had been explained.

Manuscript Submission

Manuscripts in the field of refractive surgery should be prepared according to AMA’s Manual of Style, 10th edition. Manuscripts should be submitted via Rapid Review®.

Original Articles

Original articles should not exceed 3000 words (excluding references and figure captions), unless special circumstances warrant an extended count. Articles complying with this count may still be edited for length if deemed necessary. References should not exceed 30, and the combined number of figures and tables should not exceed 10. Manuscripts must be double-spaced, with 1-inch margins, and include sequential page and line numbers. They should be organized in the following format: 1) Title page; 2) Abstract; 3) Precis; 4) Introductory text; 5) Materials and Methods or Case Reports; 6) Results; 7) Discussion; 8) References; 9) Tables and/or Figures; and 10) Legends for photographs or drawings.

Title page: The title page should contain the title; first name, middle initial, and last name of all authors, with their highest academic degree; professional affiliation of all authors and city location; acknowledgment of grant support; and name, address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of corresponding author. There should be no more than six authors unless justification is provided.

Abstract: Each article must have an abstract that specifically summarizes the content of the paper in no more than 250 words. The abstract should include four paragraphs, each one designated as follows: Purpose, Methods, Results, and Conclusions (the Conclusions section should be no more than 50 words). These sections must briefly describe, respectively, the problem being addressed, how the study was performed, the salient results, and the conclusions from the results. The purpose of the abstract is to allow the content of the paper to be understood independently.

Precis: A concise statement (35 or fewer words) explaining the significance if the paper and why it merits publication.

Text: A brief introductory statement should indicate the subject of the study and the problem. This should not include an extensive review of the literature, but only that portion which is pertinent to the purpose of the study. Materials and Methods should accurately and clearly describe methods and materials used and/or the patient population studied so that the study may be replicated. Case reports should provide concise chronological observations, but not speculation. Results should be given in written format, but tables and graphs may be used to supplement the data. Visual acuity should be reported at the 20/20 level; if logMAR values are used, Snellen equivalent must be provided. Material in the text should not be repeated in the tables and graphs. The discussion should elucidate the results, relate them to the work of others, and describe their significance. Histopathology and electromicrographs should be annotated with letters, arrows, and where appropriate, calibration bars.

References: References should be cited consecutively in the text with superscript numbers, per the AMA’s Manual of Style, 10th edition. The author is responsible for complete and accurate references. A reference to a paper “in press’’ should be included with the references; citations such as “in preparation,’’ “unpublished data,’’ and “personal communications’’ should be included in the text in parentheses. The author must provide permission of the originator of a personal communication if he or she is quoted. References at the end of the text should be listed in numerical, not alphabetical order. Abbreviations of the names of journals should conform to MEDLINE. The names of those journals that are not listed by the National Library of Medicine in MEDLINE must be given in full. Journal names should be cited as they existed at the time of publication.

  • Articles: Iber FL, McGonagle T, Serebro HA. Unidirectional sodium flux in small intestine in experimental canine cholera. Am J Med Sci. 1969;258(5):340-350.
  • Books: Clayman HM. The Surgeon’s Guide to Intraocular Lens Implantation. 2nd ed. Thorofare, NJ: SLACK Inc; 1985:77-78.
  • Chapters in books: Thornton SP. Surgical armamentarium. In: Sanders DR, Hofmann RF, eds. Refractive Surgery: A Text of Radial Keratotomy. 2nd ed. Thorofare, NJ: SLACK Inc; 1985:87-95.

Tables: Double-space all column and row heads, as well as data within the table. Each table should have a number and a concise but fully descriptive title. Each table must be cited consecutively in the text. Tables must not duplicate material in the text, although a one or two number summary may appear in the text (eg, “Thirty-seven (54%) eyes saw 20/20 or better without correction one year after surgery.’’). Do not make a table for data that can be given in the text in one or two sentences (eg, “Table 2. Age of patients’’). Label all columns and rows with complete words, if possible; use abbreviations only if commonly accepted and defined in a footnote. Units of measure should be cited in column and row headings, not within the table. Use parentheses (eg, mean [SD] or no. of eyes [%]) to consolidate information in a row or column. Include a line for totals, means, etc, at the bottom of columns.

Illustrations: Each illustration should be numbered and cited consecutively in the text. If applicable, arrows or asterisks must be present on the photograph for identification of specified areas that are discussed in the legend.

All extraneous material should be removed from photos, including manufacturer logos, patient identifying information, computer prompts, irrelevant numerical data from readouts, examination and photograph number, etc. In general, only the color-coded calibration scale and the videokeratograph with appropriate axis are necessary. Calibration bars must be placed on electron micrographs. If specific descriptive numerical data are needed, they can be placed in the figure legend if cropping the figure will remove them. Identifiable photographs of patients must be accompanied by proof of informed consent. Each illustration must have a descriptive legend and figure number. If an image has been digitally altered, disclose in the figure legend. Label parts with A, B, etc.

Reporting Outcomes: Outcomes for any clinical series of refractive surgery cases must include a graphic presentation of outcomes as set out in the Journal of Refractive Surgery articles “Standardized Graphs and Terms for Refractive Surgery Results,” which can be downloaded here, and "JRS Standard for Reporting Astigmatism Outcomes of Refractive Surgery," which can be downloaded here. Authors must include linear regression analysis with the regression equation, trend line, and coefficient of determination (r2), which should be shown on the attempted vs achieved spherical equivalent refraction scatterplot.

The Standard Graphs can be plotted using standard spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel (see the example here) or dedicated software packages available for analyzing refractive surgery outcomes, such as Datagraph-med and SurgiVision® DataLink. (The Journal of Refractive Surgery provides no specific endorsement of the above listed software packages.)

Digital Image Requirements: The required digital format is TIFF or JPEG with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. PowerPoint® images and images embedded in text files are unacceptable. If images are to print in color, CMYK format must be used. For black and white images, grayscale must be employed. Each image must be a separate, stand-alone file, named to match the figure number listed in the text (eg, Jonesfig1.tif). Figure legends, headings, or captions should not be included in the graphic file.

Video Requirements: Videos may be uploaded as supplemental materials for articles discussing operative techniques. Required format is MPEG 4. Video clips should be no more than 5 minutes, with narration synced to the video. Only 1 video clip is allowed per article. Any text on the video must be spelled and positioned perfectly, and voice-overs should be included on the video clip.

  • Biomechanics: Discussions of subjects relevant to the topic of biomechanics.
  • Editorials: Editorial statements that comment on an article included in that particular issue of the Journal or that discuss a specific topic.
  • Instruments and Surgical Techniques: Concise descriptions of both new and refined instruments, surgical techniques, and their uses.
  • New Concepts: Concise expression of an hypothesis or proposal without the need for extensive documentation.
  • New Technology: Concise and critical description of novel technologies and their uses.
  • Reports (case reports, surgical techniques, etc.): Reports are limited to 1000 words with an abstract of no more than 150 words, two figures and/or tables (ie, two figures, two tables, or one of each), and no more than 10 references.
  • Reviews: Concise, but thorough, review of a specific topic with the majority of data presented in table format.
  • Therapeutic Refractive Surgery: Surgical procedures directed at restoring corrected visual acuity and quality of vision.
  • Translational Science: Basic science or laboratory studies.
  • Correspondence/Letters to the Editor: Comments about an article that appeared in the Journal will be categorized as Correspondence. Brief descriptions of findings that are not appropriate for the Reports section will be categorized as Letters to the Editor. Letters regarding a previously published article must be submitted within 12 months of the article’s publication to be considered for possible publication, and the author of that article will be given the opportunity to respond. For Correspondence, authors should briefly describe their findings and the implications for other ophthalmologists. Letters and Correspondence should be no more than 500 words, with no more than 5 references and no more than 1 figure. Both Letters and Correspondence may be edited for clarity or length, and authors must disclose any competing or conflicting interests. All Letters and Correspondence are published at the Editor’s discretion. Letters and Correspondence should be submitted via Rapid Review.

Review Process

Each submission is evaluated by two or more scientific referees who recommend that the paper be: 1) accepted as submitted; 2) accepted with minor revision; 3) returned for major revision; or 4) rejected. Acceptance is determined by originality, significance, validity of the contribution, and suitability of the subject matter to readers. Following unbiased review by the Reviewers, Associate Editors, and Editor, authors will be notified by e-mail of the manuscript decision.

Upon publication, the Journal reserves the right to edit manuscripts, delete extraneous or excess material, and change or add titles and headings. At the editor’s discretion, certain tables and figures may be designated as supplemental material and will appear in the online version of the article only.

The Journal offers an open access publication option to authors of accepted peer-reviewed articles. With this option, articles are made freely available online immediately upon publication in exchange for payment of an article-processing charge of $2500. SLACK Incorporated’s Open Access Publication Policy can be found here.

Author’s Checklist

  • Format of manuscript is consistent with style of the Journal and the AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors (10th edition).
  • Manuscript is double-spaced, with 1-inch margins, and includes sequential page and line numbers.
  • On title page, corresponding author is designated, including address, telephone, fax, and e-mail address.
  • Any financial interest of the authors, their families, or direct business associates have been stated on the title page.
  • A structured abstract of 250 words or less accompanies the manuscript.
  • References are cited consecutively in the text.
  • Figure legends are provided for all figures and are cited consecutively in the text.
  • Digital figures are in TIFF or JPEG format, with a resolution of at least 300 dpi.
  • An Author Statement form has been completed by each author.
  • Final Step: Log onto Rapid Review, complete the author submission form, and upload signed Author Statement form(s), text, table, and image files.

Contributor Awards

The Journal of Refractive Surgery bestows two annual contributor awards: the Troutman Prize and Waring Medal. Authors interested in having their paper considered for either award should state this in their cover letter. Please note the eligibility criteria for the Troutman Prize, which must apply to the lead author, are age 45 years or younger and active membership in ISRS, and this should be indicated upon manuscript submission. The Waring Medal is open to all authors.

Award winners are listed here.


Authors may order reprints of their articles through Wright's Media.

Editorial Office

Questions regarding the journal should be directed to the editorial office.

Author Rights Related to Published Journal Articles

Scholarly Uses of Content

  1. Dissertations or Theses: Authors may reuse all or part of the submitted, accepted, or final version of their article in a thesis or dissertation that the author writes and is required to submit to satisfy the criteria of degree-granting institutions, provided that it is not published commercially and copies are not offered for sale or distributed in any systematic way.
  2. Accepted Manuscripts (“In Press”): Authors may use the abstract and one table/figure from their accepted “in press” manuscript in a poster or lecture presentation prior to publication. The full text of the accepted manuscript may not be distributed in advance of publication.
  3. Reuse of Figures, Tables, and Sidebars: Authors may reuse up to 10 figures, tables, or sidebars and text extracts of up to 400 words from their article for teaching or training purposes, in presentations at conferences and seminars, in subsequent journal articles authored by them, and in subsequent book chapters authored by them at no cost. Appropriate citation to the published work must be given. Adaptations to the previously published work should be noted. Visit www.healio.com/permissions if you are required to provide written permission for these uses.
  4. Reuse of the Full-Text Article: Authors may make copies of the article (print or electronic) for their own personal use. Authors may distribute up to 25 copies of the journal article to research colleagues for personal use by such colleagues for scholarly purposes. Authors may present orally or otherwise display or photocopy up to 100 copies of the full text of the final version of the published article at presentations where they are an invited speaker to attendees of a conference or seminar. Further distribution or reproduction of any version of the article is not allowed.
  5. Social Networking: Authors are encouraged to email a link to their article on the journal website, along with the citation and abstract, directly to colleagues (they must be a subscriber or member to access full text) as well as recommend and share a link to the article with colleagues through social networking services.
  6. Compliance with Institutional Policies or Funding Agencies: A digital file of the accepted version of the manuscript (not the final publisher version) may be posted 12 months following publication of the final version of the article by SLACK Incorporated in the author’s university institutional repository along with a link to the web page of the published article or submitted by the author to PubMed Central, if the research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

For uses that do not fall within the situations listed above, please visit: www.healio.com/permissions

Commercial Uses or Systematic Distribution

Authors of articles published in SLACK Incorporated journals may reuse the articles only for scholarly purposes as set out above but may NOT use or post them for commercial purposes or under policies or other mechanisms designed to aggregate and openly disseminate manuscripts or articles. This includes the use or posting of articles for commercial gain or to substitute for the services provided directly by the journal including the posting by companies of their employee-authored works for use by customers of such companies (e.g. pharmaceutical companies and physician-prescribers); commercial exploitation such as directly associating advertising with such postings; the charging of fees for document delivery or access; and the systematic distribution to others via e-mail lists or list servers, whether for a fee or for free.