To our knowledge, this is the first evaluation of the effect of retrobulbar anesthesia on visual acuity. We compared the preoperative best corrected near visual acuity of 30 consecutive patients undergoing planned extracapsular cataract extraction with their best corrected near visual acuity 10 minutes following successful retrobulbar anesthesia. The mean decrease in acuity was 2.83 lines on a Jaeger near card. Postinjection visual acuity did not change in four eyes. In general, the longer the globe axial length, the greater the decrease in visual acuity following retrobulbar block. There was no significant correlation between postinjection acuity and patient age or volume of anesthetic injected.