We retrospectively studied 42 men with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related Kaposi's sarcoma of the conjunctiva or eyelids who were treated with radiation. Forty-nine sites were treated, 35 (71%) of which involved the eyelids, 12 (24%) the conjunctiva, and two (4%) both the eyelids and conjunctiva. Group 1 consisted of 31 sites treated with a single dose of 800 cGy and group 2 consisted of 18 sites treated with a multiple-fraction regimen and total doses between 1500 and 3600 cGy. The response and recurrence rates in the two groups were similar. One patient from group 2 died within 1 month of treatment and was not included in the analysis. The lesions improved in all cases. A complete response was obtained in 10 (32%) of the 31 lesions in group 1, compared with four (22%) of 18 lesions in group 2. A partial response was obtained in 21 (68%) of 31 lesions in group 1, compared with 13 (72%) of 18 lesions in group 2. Expected minor reactions in the treatment field, primarily loss of cilia, were comparable in the two groups. No serious complications were noted. Recurrence occurred in seven (22%) of the 31 sites in group 1 (six patients) and seven (39%) of the 18 sites in group 2 (six patients). The results suggest that a single treatment of 800 cGy is a safe and effective palliative therapy for ophthalmic acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related Kaposi's sarcoma.