Cells in the eye express surface molecules that direct leukocyte migration during ocular inflammation. We studied the expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1, lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1, and endothelial leukocyte adhesion molecule-1 in six enucleated eyes from patients with uveitis and in seven normal control eyes. Lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 was expressed on infiltrating lymphocytes and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 was expressed on endothelial cells of retinal and choroidal blood vessels and the retinal pigment epithelium in all uveitic eyes, but in none of the normal control eyes. Ocular inflammatory cells stained strongly positive for tumor necrosis factor alpha in all eyes with uveitis, but four of six uveitic eyes showed mild staining for tumor necrosis factor beta and interferon gamma. Cell adhesion molecules are expressed in eyes with posterior uveitis and may be regulated by cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor alpha.