This study establishes the metabolic similarities and differences of intact abattoir corneas and the human cornea ex vivo, using 31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Phosphorylated sugars (SP), inorganic orthophosphate (Pi), phosphodiesters, ATP, ADP, and the nucleoside diphosphosugars and dinucleotides (NS&DN) were quantitated. The intracorneal pH also was determined. In addition, metabolic indices ATP/Pi, ATP/ADP, ATP/ (ADP + Pi), SP/Pi, the phosphorylation potential, and the 31P energy modulus were calculated. Significant differences were observed between the abattoir and human corneas in phosphorylated sugars, NS&DN, and intracorneal pH, as well as in the indices ATP/ADP and SP/Pi. The overall energy status as measured by the 31P energy modulus was significantly higher in the bovine cornea when compared to the porcine and human corneas, suggestive of a very high energy reserve in the bovine cornea.