Impaired aqueous humor flow from the eye may lead to elevated intraocular pressure and glaucoma. Drainage of aqueous fluid from the eye occurs through established routes that include conventional outflow via the trabecular meshwork, and an unconventional or uveoscleral outflow pathway involving the ciliary body. Based on the assumption that the eye lacks a lymphatic circulation, the possible role of lymphatics in the less well defined uveoscleral pathway has been largely ignored. Advances in lymphatic research have identified specific lymphatic markers such as podoplanin, a transmembrane mucin-type glycoprotein, and lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor-1 (LYVE-1). Lymphatic channels were identified in the human ciliary body using immunofluorescence with D2-40 antibody for podoplanin, and LYVE-1 antibody. In keeping with the criteria for lymphatic vessels in conjunctiva used as positive control, D2-40 and LYVE-1-positive lymphatic channels in the ciliary body had a distinct lumen, were negative for blood vessel endothelial cell marker CD34, and were surrounded by either discontinuous or no collagen IV-positive basement membrane. Cryo-immunogold electron microscopy confirmed the presence D2-40-immunoreactivity in lymphatic endothelium in the human ciliary body. Fluorescent nanospheres; injected into the anterior chamber of the sheep eye were detected in LYVE-1-positive channels of the ciliary body 15, 30, and 45 min following injection. Four hours following intracameral injection, Iodine-125 radio-labeled human serum albumin injected into the sheep eye (n = 5) was drained preferentially into cervical, retropharyngeal, submandibular and preauricular lymph nodes in the head and neck region compared to reference popliteal lymph nodes (P < 0.05). These findings collectively indicate the presence of distinct lymphatic channels in the human ciliary body, and that fluid and solutes flow at least partially through this system. The discovery of a uveolymphatic pathway in the eye is novel and highly relevant to studies of glaucoma and other eye diseases. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.