Lipids are a highly diverse class of molecules with crucial roles in cellular energy storage, structure and signaling. Lipid homeostasis is fundamental to maintain health, and lipid defects are central to the pathogenesis of important and devastating diseases. Newly emerging advances have facilitated the development of so-called lipidomics technologies and offer an opportunity to elucidate the mechanisms leading to disease. Furthermore, these advances also provide the tools to unravel the complexity of the ‘allostatic forces’ that allow maintenance of normal cellular/tissue phenotypes through the application of bioenergetically inefficient adaptive mechanisms. An alternative strategy is to focus on tissues with limited allostatic capacity, such as the eye, that could be used as readouts of metabolic stress over time. Identification of these allostatic mechanisms and pathological ‘scares’ might provide a window to unknown pathogenic mechanisms, as well as facilitate identification of early biomarkers of disease.