Epalrestat is the unique aldose reductase inhibitor on the market, which was mainly used for the diabetic neuropathy. Lenses osmotic expansion could be induced by galactose to mimic the pathological process of diabetic cataract in vitro. In present study, we mainly investigated whether epalrestat possesses inhibitory effect on the lens osmotic expansion. The results indicated that epalrestat could not only markedly inhibit rat lens osmotic expansion in vitro, but also significantly reduced the high expression of the osmotic expansion-related genes such as AR and AQP1 in mRNA and protein levels. The findings may provide an important reference to epalrestat in the clinical application for the treatment of diabetic cataract.