Sixty-six eyes with congenital glaucoma were subjected to trabeculectomy between July 1975 and June 1989 are presented. Thirty-one were treated with beta irradiation at the time of surgery with a strontium-90 applicator; 35 were not treated with beta irradiation. The usual dose was 750 rad. Analysis was limited to three years because of the shorter follow-up of the irradiated eyes. Failure in the two groups was compared statistically. When failure was categorised as IOP greater than 21 mm Hg, beta irradiation was found to be significantly protective with an adjusted risk ratio of 0.31 (95% confidence interval 0.11-0.90, p less than 0.05). Failure categorised as the need for additional medical treatment or further surgery showed significant protection with an adjusted risk ratio of 0.33 (confidence interval 0.12-0.94, p less than 0.05). Multiple regression models were used for the analysis of intraocular pressure; beta irradiation was associated with a significantly lower IOP at six months, one year, and three years (p less than 0.05). Other factors identified as being associated with a reduced failure rate or lower IOP were: no previous topical glaucoma medications: age over seven years; lack of previous surgery involving the conjunctiva. The results indicate that beta irradiation may have a beneficial effect on the prognosis of trabeculectomy in children with congenital glaucoma. However, because of the retrospective and observational nature of the study, the results must be regarded as tentative.