On the basis of recent advances in molecular biology, genetics, and live-embryo imaging, direct comparisons between zebra fish and human lens development are being made. The zebra fish has numerous experimental advantages for investigation of fundamental biomedical problems that are often best studied in the lens. The physical characteristics of visible light can account for the highly coordinated cell differentiation during formation of a beautifully transparent, refractile, symmetric optical element, the biological lens. The accessibility of the zebra fish lens for direct investigation during rapid development will result in new knowledge about basic functional mechanisms of epithelia-mesenchymal transitions, cell fate, cell-matrix interactions, cytoskeletal interactions, cytoplasmic crowding, membrane transport, cell adhesion, cell signaling, and metabolic specialization. The lens is well known as a model for characterization of cell and molecular aging. We review the recent advances in understanding vertebrate lens development conducted with zebra fish.