Using immunogold immunocytochemical techniques we studied the distribution of collagen types V and VI in corneal tissue from seven enucleated human eyes (age range, 63-78 years). Results obtained by cryoultramicrotomy were marginally more intense than those obtained using London Resin white (LR white) embedding. Type V collagen was present in the striated collagen fibrils in Bowman's layer, in the stroma and in a thin, non-banded anterior zone of Descemet's membrane. Our results suggest that types I, III and V collagen co-distribute in striated collagen fibrils. By contrast, type VI collagen was located in fine filaments in the interfibrillar matrix of the stroma, in Bowman's layer and in the anchoring plaques of the sub-epithelial basement-membrane complex. This implies an importance in epithelial adhesion which was previously unsuspected. Keratocyte bodies were electron-dense, amorphous extracellular deposits of matrix-like material, and these were labelled with types III, V and VI collagen antibodies. Long-spacing collagen was observed in the corneal stroma, and this deposit did not contain any of the collagen types studied.