Images of a human iris contain rich texture information useful for identity authentication. A key and still open issue in iris recognition is how best to represent such textural information using a compact set of features (iris features). In this paper, we propose using ordinal measures for iris feature representation with the objective of characterizing qualitative relationships between iris regions rather than precise measurements of iris image structures. Such a representation may lose some image-specific information, but it achieves a good trade-off between distinctiveness and robustness. We show that ordinal measures are intrinsic features of iris patterns and largely invariant to illumination changes. Moreover, compactness and low computational complexity of ordinal measures enable highly efficient iris recognition. Ordinal measures are a general concept useful for image analysis and many variants can be derived for ordinal feature extraction. In this paper, we develop multilobe differential filters to compute ordinal measures with flexible intralobe and interlobe parameters such as location, scale, orientation, and distance. Experimental results on three public iris image databases demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed ordinal feature models.