This overview of the biochemical and pathophysiologic events after chemical burns of the eye is intended to act as a guide for appropriate therapy. Effective emergency measures must be instituted immediately followed by careful clinical evaluation to recognize and then treat problems at their inception. When and how to use the variety of drugs and devices is detailed. When these new methods and technology are applied successfully the clinical course may be improved and visual rehabilitation secured. The early results of conjunctival transplantation and hormonal therapy offer promise from experimental procedures. Exciting new treatments employing the foodstuffs ascorbate or citrate (orthomolecular therapy) are currently under investigation. The National Eye Institute sponsors our ongoing randomized clinical trial of these compounds in the treatment of the alkali burned eye. The outcome may change our thinking and our expectations after chemical burns of the eye.