Determination of Chlamydia trachomatis specific antibodies in serum and tears, isolation of C. trachomatis in cell culture and C. trachomatis antigen detection by direct immunofluorescence test were evaluated for the laboratory diagnosis of Chlamydia trachomatis infection in 30 patients with chronic conjunctivitis. C. trachomatis specific secretory immunoglobulin A (s-IgA) was detected in the tears of all 8 patients with a positive result in culture and the direct immunofluorescence test. In 4 additional patients, the s-IgA assay of tears was also positive. A presumptive clinical diagnosis of Chlamydia conjunctivitis was correlated with the presence of s-IgA in tears. S-IgA was not detected in the serum of any of the patients, indicating that s-IgA is locally produced and not transudated from the serum. For the diagnosis of chronic Chlamydia conjunctivitis, we recommend the determination of s-IgA in tears in addition to a test for Chlamydia detection.