Ceramides were quantitatively isolated from human normal and cataractous lens by solvent extraction, silicic acid chromatography, thin-layer chromatography, and gas-liquid chromatography. Only two species of ceramides with normal fatty acids were detected. In the mature cataracts, there was an increase in palmitate and nervonate at the expense of the other fatty acids. Due to the increase of 24 : 1, the ratio of 24 : 1/24 : 0 increased significantly from normals to cataracts. Sphinganine was the major long-chain base, but 4-sphingenine was also present. The total amount of ceramides in the immature and mature cataracts was 1.8 and 3.0 times higher than the normals of the same age group. Such an increase does not seem to be the result of an age-dependent process.