Quantitative metabolomic profiles of normal and cataractous human lenses were obtained with the combined use of high-frequency nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and high-performance liquid chromatography with high-resolution mass-spectrometric detection (LC-MS) methods. The concentration of more than fifty metabolites in the lens cortex and nucleus has been determined. For the majority of metabolites, their concentrations in the lens cortex and nucleus are similar, which confirms low metabolic activity in the lens core. The difference between the metabolite levels in the cortex and nucleus of the normal lens is observed for antioxidants and UV filters, which demonstrates the activity of redox processes in the lens. A huge difference is found between the metabolomic compositions of normal and age-matched cataractous lenses: the concentrations of almost all metabolites in the normal lens are higher than in the cataractous one. The most pronounced difference is observed for compounds playing a key role in the lens cell protection and metabolic activity, including antioxidants, UV filters, and osmolytes. The results obtained imply that the development of the age-related cataracts might originate from the metabolic dysfunction of the lens epithelial cells. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.