Complete records from 175 patients with 176 episodes of culture-proven bacterial keratitis treated over a 4-year period at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston were analyzed. Sixty-three percent of the infections involved gram-positive organisms, and 40% involved gram-negative organisms; 15% were polymicrobial. There was a high incidence of infection with Staphylococcus aureus (28%), coagulase-negative staphylococci (14%), diphtheroids (14%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (14%), and Streptococcus pneumoniae (12%). Gram stain correlation was achieved in 55%. Potential predisposing factors, usually multiple, were identified in 97% of the patients. Fifty percent of the ulcers were associated with such iatrogenic factors as prior topical corticosteroid therapy, penetrating keratoplasty, and contact lens use. Trauma occurred in only 16%. Several statistically significant associations of epidemiologic factors and outcome variables were revealed. Ninety-five percent of the ulcers resolved with therapy, but only 44% of the patients had visual acuity better than the level at admission, and 13% developed major complications.