We studied the effectiveness of two prophylactic agents in controlling early postoperative intraocular pressure (IOP) increases after cataract surgery. Fifty-four nonglaucomatous patients received either topical 1% apraclonidine, one drop before and after surgery, or sustained-release acetazolamide, 500 mg, or no medication at the completion of planned extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE). Mean baseline IOPs were similar among patients randomized to the apraclonidine, acetazolamide, and control groups: 15.29 mm Hg, 15.33 mm Hg, and 14.26 mm Hg, respectively. At 3 hours postoperatively, IOPs were significantly lower in the apraclonidine group (11.13 mm Hg, P = .035), nonsignificantly lower in the acetazolamide group (13.3 mm Hg, P = .17), and significantly increased in the control group (21.32 mm Hg, P = .003). One eye in the apraclonidine group and six in the control group had IOPs greater than 30 mm Hg. At 24 hours, the only statistically significant difference was in the control group, whose mean IOPs remained elevated (21.83 mm Hg, P = .0008). One eye in the apraclonidine group, two in the acetazolamide group, and five in the control group had IOPs greater than 30 mm Hg. We found a significant early IOP reduction with apraclonidine given topically preoperatively and at the completion of planned ECCE.