In severe burns of the anterior eye segment, including the cornea, limbus and adjacent conjunctiva, ischemia resulted from the necroses. While necrotic conjunctival and subconjunctival tissues may be removed to eliminate the toxic influence, the opaque cornea and ischemic sclera could not be removed. In the surrounding healthy tissues an inflammatory reaction developed, which brought about an infiltration of the damaged tissues by leukocytes and the release of lysosomal marker enzymes. N-Acetylglucosaminidase and cathepsin-D represent a number of other destructive enzymes involved with corneal and corneoscleral ulceration. Initially, their activities were low in the turbid, acellular cornea and increased 3 weeks after the burn. In the surrounding conjunctiva, these enzyme activities were normally higher than in the cornea and increased significantly after the burn. The elevated activities of N-acetylglucosaminidase and cathepsin-D in the conjunctiva and cornea were related clinically to corneal and corneoscleral ulceration.