The Swedish National Cataract Register (NCR) has been collecting data on cataract extractions in Sweden since 1992. This unique national database now contains data pertaining to more than 400 000 operations, representing 93.4% of all operations performed nationwide during 1992-2000. Clinic participation in the NCR is voluntary. Tests have shown NCR data to be extremely reliable, while the participation of nearly all providers of cataract surgery in Sweden makes the data highly representative of cataract surgery throughout the country. The NCR collects pre- and per-operative data for every cataract extraction performed at participating clinics. Surgical outcome data and data about patients' self-assessed visual function is collected in approximately 10% of cases. Since 1998, all cases of suspected postoperative endophthalmitis have also been reported to the NCR. The rate of surgery has increased from 4.47 to 7.26 per 1000 inhabitants during the period. Female subjects have constituted about 66% of all operated subjects each year and the mean age of patients has slowly increased from 75.2 to 76.1 years. Average pre-operative visual acuity has improved each year. Second eye surgery has increased from 28.5% to 36.8% of all surgeries. Phacoemulsification has reached 98% as type of surgery (in 2000) and 92.7% of all intraocular lenses are foldable. Surgical outcome has improved by achieving a final refraction closer to the target refraction and less surgically induced astigmatism. The positive impact of cataract surgery in very elderly people has been demonstrated, as has the positive effect of second eye surgery, especially in young subjects. The NCR has served to enhance knowledge about trends and results of cataract surgery in Sweden. This review article describes some of the activities carried out and their results.