A mathematical model of solute transient diffusion across the cornea to the anterior chamber of the eye was developed for topical drug delivery. Solute bioavailability was predicted given solute molecular radius and octanol-to-water distribution coefficient (Phi), ocular membrane ultrastructural parameters, tear fluid hydrodynamics, as well as solute distribution volume (Vd) and clearance rate (Cla) in the anterior chamber. The results suggest that drug bioavailability is primarily determined by solute lipophilicity. In human eyes, bioavailability is predicted to range between 1% and 5% for lipophilic molecules (Phi>1), and to be less than 0.5% for hydrophilic molecules (Phi<0.01). The simulations indicate that the distribution coefficient that maximizes bioavailability is on the order of 10. It was also found that the maximum solute concentration in the anterior chamber (Cmax) and the time needed to reach Cmax significantly depend on Phi, Vd, and Cla. Consistent with experimental findings, model predictions suggest that drug bioavailability can be increased by lowering the conjunctival-to-corneal permeability ratio and reducing precorneal solute drainage. Because of its mechanistic basis, this model will be useful to predict drug transport kinetics and bioavailability for new compounds and in diseased eyes.