The Ontario Corneal Recipient Registry followed 299 recipients of 326 corneal transplants performed between October 1985 and October 1987. This report describes the joint effects of donor age and cause of death on subsequent graft survival in these procedures up to two years after surgery. Cox regression analysis established that grafts from donors dying of injury experienced half the risk of graft failure of those from donors dying of heart disease or other natural causes (P less than 0.05). Although donor age differed substantially between these causes of death, controlling for donor age did not alter the association. There were no statistically or clinically significant differences in graft survival associated with either donor age or recipient age. These results suggest that the health of the donor and the circumstances surrounding death may influence the quality of corneal tissue, and deserve more attention and detailed study.