The binding to morphologically normal human retina of eleven biotin- or peroxidase-coupled lectins with different carbohydrate specificities was studied. Eight formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded eyes were examined. Photoreceptor cells bound Lens culinaris (LCA), wheat germ (WGA), peanut (PNA) and Ricinus communis (RCAI) agglutinins, and concanavalin A (ConA). The outer segment region was labeled more strongly that the inner segment region, and PNA labeled only cones. All these lectins except PNA bound to both plexiform layers, and all but PNA and RCAI to the nuclear layers. Pretreatment with neuraminidase to remove sialic acid resulted in increased binding of RCAI and PNA, which now labeled both rods and cones, and in decreased binding of WGA. Bandeiraea simplicifolia (BSAI), Dolichos biflorus (DBA), soybean (SBA), Ulex europaeus (UEAI), and Lotus tetragonolobus (LTA) agglutinins, as well as pokeweek mitogen (PWM) reacted only with retinal vascular endothelial cells, which were also labeled with the other lectins. The results indicate that alpha-mannose, alpha-glucose, beta-galactose, N-acetyl-D-glucosamine and N-acetylneuraminic acid are present in glycoconjugates of human neuroretina.