In this study, the changes in the optical absorption coefficients and the refractive index in a V-shaped quantum well have investigated theoretically. Within the effective mass approximation, the electronic structure of the V-shaped quantum well is calculated by numerical methods from the Schrodinger equation. Optical properties are obtained using the compact density-matrix approach. In the present work, the linear, third-order nonlinear and total absorption and refractive index changes investigated as a function of the quantum well width, the incident optical intensity, strengths of the magnetic and electric fields. Our results show that the magnetic and electric fields strengths, the quantum well width and incident optical intensity have a great effect on the optical characteristics of these structures. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.