The severity of conjunctival microvascular changes and the presence of cotton-wool spots were compared to factors that may affect blood flow (hematocrit level, red cell aggregation, fibrinogen level, plasma viscosity, circulating immune complexes, and quantitative immunoglobulin levels) in 22 human immunodeficiency virus-infected individuals. The severity of conjunctival disease was associated with increased zeta sedimentation ratios (a measure of red cell aggregation) and fibrinogen levels. The presence of cotton-wool spots was also associated with higher fibrinogen levels. Plasma viscosity and quantitative IgG levels were above normal levels in most patients, although a relationship to disease severity was not established. Altered blood flow may contribute to vascular damage and ocular ischemic lesions in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection.