A 550-bp region of the cytomegalovirus (CMV) glycoprotein B (gB) gene was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from 141 vitreous specimens of 120 patients with AIDS and CMV retinitis from three different metropolitan centers. The distribution of gB subtypes I, II, III, and IV were 19%, 43 %, 12%, and 21%, respectively, based on restriction enzyme digestion patterns of PCR-amplified DNA. Two patients had simultaneous infection with two different gB subtypes. The ratio of gB subtypes was similar among the three geographically distinct patient populations. Two of 14 patients with bilateral vitreous specimens had different viral subtypes in each eye. In addition, different gB subtypes were observed in 1 of 6 patients with serial specimens. The ratio of different gB subtypes in the vitreous of patients with CMV retinitis is similar to that previously reported in the peripheral blood of patients with advanced AIDS.