The indications for penetrating keratoplasty have changed over the past several years. Nine hundred ninety-nine penetrating keratoplasty specimens from 1981 through 1990 were analyzed. Overall, keratoconus was the most common indication for penetrating keratoplasty (24.2%). This was followed by pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (23.0%), regraft (13.1%), scarring (8.2%), and Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy (5.8%). Pseudophakic bullous keratopathy was the most common indication for penetrating keratoplasty in each year from 1984 through 1989 with a peak in 1987 (33%). Since 1987, the number of pseudophakic bullous keratopathy cases has decreased; and in 1990, keratoconus (33.1%) surpassed pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (24.1%) as the most common indication for penetrating keratoplasty. This decreasing incidence of pseudophakic bullous keratopathy may reflect the discontinued use of closed-looped anterior chamber and iris-plane intraocular lenses most commonly associated with this complication.