Lenticular autofluorescence was measured in vivo in 25 normal tree shrews using a fluorophotometer with a specially designed small animal adapter to assess the usefulness of this model of lens pathology. The average variability in the lenticular autofluorescence measurements was 8.7%. The average ratio between lenticular autofluorescence of the left eye and that of the right eye was 0.99 +/- 0.13 SD. There was a strong correlation between age and mean lenticular autofluorescence in both eyes (correlation coefficient, 0.988; p < 0.001). The calculated annual increase in lenticular autofluorescence was 23.7 ngEq/ml. This method of measurement is reliable, and lenticular autofluorescence in tree shrews varies little among animals other than a variation caused by aging. Moreover, the tree shrew, which is believed to be a primate, is small and easy to breed. This could be a useful animal model to study various lens pathologies in humans.