High D/L aspartic acid ratios are observed in heavy molecular weight aggregates and in water-insoluble protein extracted from whole lenses and nuclear and cortical regions. Purified alpha-, beta-, and gamma-crystallins have low D/L ratios. Fractionation of urea-solubilized material from the water-insoluble protein yields four molecular weight classes of proteins. Fractions representing crosslinked material or apparently degraded products have high D/L ratios. Racemization within lens proteins may contribute to formation of the water-insoluble fraction seen in aging lenses and cataracts.