Catherine Cheng, Roberta B. Nowak, Michael B. Amadeo, Sondip K. Biswas, Woo-Kuen Lo, and Velia M. Fowler Tropomyosins (Tpms) stabilize F-actin and regulate interactions with other actin-binding proteins. The eye lens changes shape in order to focus light to transmit a clear image, and thus lens organ function is tied to its biomechanical properties, presenting an opportunity to study Tpm functions in tissue mechanics. Mouse lenses contain Tpm3.5 (also known as TM5NM5), a previously unstudied isoform encoded by Tpm3 , which is associated with F-actin on lens fiber cell membranes. Decreased levels of Tpm3.5 lead to softer and less mechanically resilient lenses that are unable to resume their original shape after compression. While cell organization and morphology appear unaffected, Tmod1 dissociates from the membrane in Tpm3.5-deficient lens fiber cells resulting in reorganization of the spectrin–F-actin and α-actinin–F-actin networks at the membrane. These rearranged F-actin networks appear to be less able to support mechanical load and resilience, leading to an overall change in tissue mechanical properties. This is the first in vivo evidence that a Tpm protein is essential for cell biomechanical stability in a load-bearing non-muscle tissue, and indicates that Tpm3.5 protects mechanically stable, load-bearing F-actin in vivo . This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.