The patient's perspective of his or her own health status as it relates to functioning and well-being is referred to as health-related quality of life. Various generic and ophthalmology-specific survey instruments have been used to gain an understanding of patient-oriented health status in patients with cataract or with glaucoma. Improvement in vision-targeted quality of life has been shown following cataract surgery; however, an improvement in self-perceived overall health status following cataract surgery has not been established. Increasing severity of glaucoma has been shown to be negatively related to vision-targeted quality of life; the relationship between increasing severity of glaucoma and overall self-perceived health status is inconclusive. Integration of the concepts of health-related quality of life into clinical practice will require the development of better measurement instruments that can demonstrate notable outcome advantages for patients.