Previously we have reported that various pathologic corneas exhibited a 'diseased' two-band corneal aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) zymogram after native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis as compared with the three bands in the normal human cornea. Experimentally, such a 'diseased' zymogram pattern could be induced by addition of reduced glutathione (GSH) to the normal corneal epithelial extract. This finding suggests that in vivo the conformation of corneal ALDH may be related to changes in the GSH redox system during the process of corneal diseases. To investigate this hypothesis in keratoconus corneal epithelial extracts and a separate group comprising other corneal disorders, mainly herpes keratitis, we indirectly measured the GSH turnover by assaying the activity of glutathione reductase (GR) which is responsible in producing GSH and glutathione s-transferase (GST), which converts GSH into mercapturic acid. Our results indicate that there is a correlation between the activity of GR and GST in the normal and the separate group of corneal disorders. Because GST is the first enzyme in the mercapturic acid pathway, which detoxifies xenobiotic substrates including aldehydes, as by-products of membrane lipid peroxidation, an elevated GSH turnover might be necessary to counteract oxidative threats. However, no correlation was found between corneal ALDH level with either GR or GST. On the other hand, keratoconus samples demonstrated a distinct enzymatic behavior that was in concordance with our earlier result in the corneal ALDH zymogram after isoelectric focusing. Furthermore, analysis of our several studies tends to support the proposed structural function of ALDH in human cornea.