NEIBank is a project to gather and organize genomic resources for eye research. The first phase of this project covers the construction and sequence analysis of cDNA libraries from human and animal model eye tissues to develop an overview of the repertoire of genes expressed in the eye and a resource of cDNA clones for further studies. The sequence data are grouped and identified using the tools of bioinformatics and the results are displayed through a web site where they can be interrogated by keyword search, chromosome location, by Blast (sequence comparison) or by alignment on completed genomes. Many novel proteins and novel splice forms of known genes have already emerged from analysis of the accumulating data. This review provides an overview of the current state of the database for human eye tissues, with specific comparisons to some parallel data from mouse and rat, and with illustrative examples of the kinds of insights and discoveries these data can produce. One of the major themes that emerges is that at the molecular level human eye tissues have significant differences from those of rodents, encompassing species specific genes, alternative splice forms and great variation in levels of gene expression. These point to specific adaptations and mechanisms in the human eye and emphasize that care needs to be taken in the application of appropriate animal model systems.