Since the days of Hans Spemann, the ocular lens has served as one of the most important developmental systems for elucidating fundamental processes of induction and differentiation. More recently, studies in the lens have contributed significantly to our understanding of cell cycle regulation and apoptosis. Over 20 years of accumulated evidence using several different vertebrate species has suggested that fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) and/or fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) play a key role in lens development. FGFR signaling has been implicated in lens induction, lens cell proliferation and survival, lens fiber differentiation and lens regeneration. Here we will review and discuss historical and recent evidence suggesting that (FGFR) signaling plays a vital and universal role in multiple aspects of lens development.