We reviewed 397 cases of microbial keratitis examined at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA, U.S.A., from January 1982 through December 1985. Of these, 136 cases (34%) were related to contact lens use. Extended-wear contact lenses were used by 107 (79%) of these patients. Cosmetic contact lenses accounted for 59 (44%) of lens-related cases, aphakic contact lenses 44 (32%), and therapeutic (bandage) contact lenses 33 (24%). Fifty-three microbial keratitis cases associated with contact lens wear were culture-positive: 28 (52%) were gram-positive, and 19 (36%) were gram-negative. Mixed cultures, fungi, and Acanthamoeba accounted for two cases (4%) each. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was specifically associated with cosmetic soft contact lens use.