4-(2-Aminophenyl)-4-oxobutanoic acid, 4-(2-amino-3-hydroxyphenyl)-4-oxobutanoic acid and glutathionyl-kynurenine have been identified as novel metabolites in normal and cataractous human lenses following total synthesis and comparison with authentic human lens samples. Their structures are consistent with those derived from the major human lens UV filters kynurenine and 3-hydroxykynurenine, and it is proposed that these compounds also play a role as UV filters. These metabolites were isolated in pmol/mg levels (dry mass) in lenses. 4-(2-Amino-3-hydroxyphenyl)-4-oxobutanoic acid and glutathionyl-kynurenine were found to be unstable at physiological pH. Other potential metabolites, glutathionyl-3-hydroxykynurenine, kynurenine yellow and 3-hydroxykynurenine yellow, were not detected in either normal or cataractous lenses.