We assessed vision before and after uncomplicated extracapsular cataract extraction and intraocular lens implantation in 72 symptomatic patients with acuity equal to or better than 20/80 and no other ocular abnormality. Contrast sensitivity was measured with the Pelli-Robson Letter Chart (Metropia Ltd, Cambridge, England) and disability glare was measured under daytime conditions with the Brightness Acuity Tester (Mentor O&O Inc, Norwell, Mass) and under nighttime conditions with a computer-controlled video display. Prior to surgery there was significant disability glare that was not correlated with acuity. There was also a loss in contrast sensitivity that was moderately correlated with acuity (r = -.43; P < .001). Following surgery, most patients' scores returned to normal on all tests. Improvement in disability glare and contrast sensitivity was independent of improvement in acuity. Furthermore, patients with the poorest preoperative vision were as likely to regain normal function after surgery as those with the best preoperative vision.