Three physiological classes of retinal ganglion cell project to the cat dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (DLGN). The dorsal laminae A, A1, and magnocellular C receive X and Y retinal input, whereas the ventral parvicellular laminae C1 and C2 receive predominantly W input. We have compared quantitatively the retinal synaptic terminals of the dorsal and ventral laminae to determine whether there are morphological differences in the terminals that correspond to their different response properties. Anterogradely labeled retinal synaptic terminals in all laminae contained pale mitochondria and large, round synaptic vesicles. However, retinal terminals with pale mitochondria varied in size and synaptic organization in different laminae. The terminals in the A laminae were, on average, quite large and made numerous contacts with conventional dendritic profiles and with profiles that themselves contained synaptic vesicles (F2 profiles). The terminals in lamina C that contained pale mitochondria had a smaller overall mean area. Terminals with pale mitochondria in C1 and C2 were almost all small and synapsed with F2 profiles less frequently than did terminals in the A laminae or in lamina C. These results provide quantitative evidence that visual areas receiving W-type retinal input contain smaller retinal terminals and have a different synaptic organization from that of laminae receiving X and Y input.