Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol formed from the aldose reductase catalyzed reduction of glucose. Mounting experimental evidence links the abnormal intracellular accumulation of sorbitol to the onset and severity of diabetes-associated pathology which results in a variety of tissue and/or functional changes in the cornea, lens, retina, iris, peripheral nerves, and kidney. Animal studies indicate that aldose reductase inhibitors, by inhibiting the formation of sorbitol in target tissues affected by diabetes, can either prevent or significantly delay the onset of many of these diabetes-associated changes. The pioneering studies of Dr Jin Kinoshita have been instrumental in defining the pathophysiological role of aldose reductase and excess sorbitol production under diabetic conditions. These studies provide a firm scientific groundwork for investigating the premise that inhibition of sorbitol formation is a new, pharmacologically direct treatment for diabetic complications that is independent of the control of blood sugar levels.