Aldose reductase is implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic cataracts; therefore, inhibition of this enzyme subsequent to cataractogenesis may represent a therapeutic approach for restoration of lens physiology. In the present study, the effect of aldose reductase inhibition subsequent to stage I cataract formation was investigated in the streptozocin-induced diabetic rat. Our results indicated that the aldose reductase inhibitor sorbinil, a spirohydantoin, arrested further progression and promoted a reparative process despite continuation of hyperglycemia and elevated lens glucose. Quantitative analysis of scanning electron micrographs indicated that the afflicted lens regions were contained and their cellular components stabilized with regard to fiber hydration and interdigitation. The reparative process included: normalization of lens sorbitol, gradual recovery of existing fiber contour and interdigitation, production of new fibers, and partial restoration of lens myo-inositol content.

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