Cataract--opacification of the lens--is closely related to diabetes as one of its major late complications. This review deals with three molecular mechanisms that may be involved in the development of diabetic cataract: nonenzymatic glycation of eye lens proteins, oxidative stress, and activated polyol pathway in glucose disposition. Implications resulting from these mechanisms for possible pharmacological interventions to prevent diabetic cataract are discussed. The article reviews research on potential anticataract agents, including glycation inhibitors, antioxidants, and aldose reductase inhibitors. Information on possible benefits of putative anticataract agents comes from a variety of approaches, ranging from laboratory experiments, both in vitro and in vivo, to epidemiological studies in patients.