A diabetic rabbit model was developed for investigation of cataractogenesis and other changes in the anterior segment. Rabbits were fasted, injected with 0.7 mg/kg alloxan, fed 1% glucose solution for 24 hrs and returned to a normal diet. Animals showing and maintaining blood glucose of greater than 300 mg% within two days were used in this study. Concomitant with increase in blood glucose was a rise in aqueous humor glucose and osmolality, together with a decrease in ascorbate concentration. Vacuoles and small discrete opacities developed, and in some cases, at longer time periods complete opacity of anterior or posterior aspects was found. Total calcium content of the whole lens increased up to 2-fold, especially after 60 days, and was correlated with a decrease in lens transmittance of a He/Ne laser beam and also with high osmolality of the aqueous humor. Free calcium was six-fold higher in opaque areas than clear areas, and was 100-fold higher in vacuoles. It is suggested that, in addition to the recognized role in sugar cataractogenesis of osmotic stress due to sorbitol accumulation in the lens, changes of intracellular calcium in localized areas of the lens and stresses imposed by changes in aqueous humor osmolality may also be important.