A noninvasive in vivo fluorescence detection scheme was employed to continuously monitor exogenous dye clearance from the vasculature. Differentiation between normal and impaired physiological function in a rat model was demonstrated for both liver and kidney. A fiber optic transmitted light from source to ear; a second fiber optic positioned near the ear transmitted the fluorescent light to a detector system. Two model dye systems were employed in this initial study. Indocyanine green, known to be exclusively cleared from the blood stream by the liver, was excited in vivo with laser light at 780 nm. The fluorescence signal was detected at 830 nm. A characteristic clearance curve of normal hepatic function was obtained. After a partial hepatectomy of the liver, the clearance curve was extended in time, as would be expected from reduced hepatic function. In addition, fluorescein labeled poly-D-lysine, a small polymer predominantly cleared from the blood stream by the kidney, was excited in vivo with laser light at 488 nm. The fluorescence signal was detected at 518 nm. A characteristic clearance curve of normal renal function was obtained. After a bilateral ligation of the kidneys, the clearance curve remained elevated and constant, indicating little if any clearance. Thus, the feasibility of a new noninvasive method for physiological function assessment was established.