Failure of a glaucoma filtering procedure commonly results from scarring at the surgical site. Fibroblasts play an important role in the scarring process. 5-fluorouracil is an antimetabolite capable of inhibiting fibroblast proliferation. We tested the ability of 5-fluorouracil to inhibit cicatrization at the filtering site in an experimental model. Posterior lip sclerectomies were performed in each eye of ten normal owl monkeys. Postoperatively, one eye of each animal received subconjunctival injections of fluorouracil and the fellow eye received saline injections in a randomized, masked fashion. Two animals died of undetermined causes. None of the control eyes developed blebs, but six of the eight treated eyes in surviving animals developed blebs. The difference between intraocular pressures in fluorouracil-treated and control eyes was statistically significant (P less than 0.05). Signs of ocular toxicity included persistent corneal epithelial defects and delayed healing of the conjunctival incision. These results are considerably more favorable than those previously reported with experimental filtering procedures in non-human primates. Pharmacologic modulation of wound healing may decrease the risk of failure of filtering operations.