The retinal interphotoreceptor matrix (IPM) occupies the space between the neural retina and the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE), two neuroectoderm-derived epithelia. While the IPM appears to be a major route by which photoreceptor cells receive vital metabolic factors, relatively little is known concerning its structure and function. The studies reported here describe the presence of specialized domains of the IPM that ensheath cone, but not rod, inner and outer segments in pig, monkey, and human retinae. These cone extracellular matrix sheaths are chemically and structurally distinct from the remainder of the IPM as revealed by their specific binding of the lectin peanut agglutinin (PNA) and their structural stability during physical dissociation of the retina. Biochemical studies suggest that the PNA-binding components of the cone matrix sheaths are trypsin-sensitive glycoproteins. These structures may play a role in establishing a specialized microenvironment for cone photoreceptors, maintaining proper orientation of cone outer segments, and/or facilitating cone-RPE interactions.