The distribution of type-VI collagen in the human iris and ciliary body was investigated by means of immunohistochemical techniques and compared with that of type-IV collagen, fibronectin and laminin. As has been described for other tissues, type-VI collagen surrounds type-I and -III collagen fibers. The aggregated form of type-VI collagen (the "long-spacing" or "curly" collagen), which has already been described in the trabecular meshwork and sclera, was also observed at the ciliary muscle tips surrounding the anterior elastic tendons of this muscle. In addition, staining for type-VI collagen was seen directly adjacent to the basement membranes of the ciliary muscle cells, the iris muscles, the uveal vascular endothelia and nerves, but not adjacent to the epithelial basement membranes. The staining did not form a discrete line like the immunoreaction for type-IV collagen, but bundles of marked fibrils extended into the surrounding connective tissue. We assume that type-VI collagen similar to type-VII collagen forms part of an anchoring system for these tissues. As type-VII collagen has been described only in connection with epithelial basement membranes, both type-VI and type-VII collagens may represent anchoring fibrils, however for different tissue components.