In previous studies of topical application of retinoic acid to the eye, retinoic acid in an oil vehicle has been used. An all-trans-retinoic acid (Tretinoin, USP) formulation in a petrolatum-based ophthalmic ointment vehicle has now been developed which is chemically stable for at least one year. The ointment is effective at retinoic acid concentrations of 0.01-0.1% in reversing corneal keratinization in vitamin A-deficient, xerophthalmic rabbits. At 0.1% it also stimulates the healing rate of corneal epithelial wounds in rabbits and monkeys. Retinoic acid ointment may prove to be valuable clinically in the treatment of xerophthalmia, corneal epithelial erosions, and related ocular surface abnormalities.