Cataracts are caused by high-molecular weight aggregates of human eye lens proteins that scatter light, causing lens opacity. Metal ions have emerged as important potential players in the etiology of cataract disease, as human lens γ-crystallins are susceptible to metal-induced aggregation. Here, the interaction of Cu2+ ions with γD-, γC-, and γS- crystallins, the three most abundant γ-crystallins in the lens, has been evaluated. Cu2+ ions induced non-amyloid aggregation in all three proteins. Solution turbidimetry, SDS-PAGE, circular dichroism and differential scanning calorimetry showed that the mechanism for Cu-induced aggregation involves: i) loss of beta-sheet structure in the N-terminal domain; ii) decreased thermal and kinetic stability; iii) formation of metal-bridged species; and iv) formation of disulfide-bridged dimers. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) revealed two distinct Cu2+ binding sites in each protein. Spin quantitation demonstrated reduction of γ-crystallin-bound Cu2+ ions to Cu+ under aerobic conditions, while X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) confirmed the presence of linear or trigonal Cu+ binding sites in γ-crystallins. Our EPR and XAS studies revealed that γ-crystallins’ Cu2+ reductase activity yields a protein-based free radical that is likely a Tyr-based species in human γD-crystallin. This unique free radical chemistry carried out by distinct redox-active Cu sites in human lens γ-crystallins likely contributes to the mechanism of copper-induced aggregation. In the context of an aging human lens, γ-crystallins could be acting, not only as structural proteins, but also as key players for metal and redox homeostasis.