Alkali injuries to the ocular surface often result in cataract, in addition to damaging the cornea, conjunctiva, and iris. Alkali compounds penetrate the eye readily, causing an increase in aqueous pH and a decrease in the level of aqueous glucose and ascorbate. Cortical cataract formation may occur acutely or as a delayed effect of chemical injury. Because acid tends to penetrate the eye less easily than does alkali, acid injuries are less likely to result in cataract formation.
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 11 - Lens and Cataract. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.