Hundred and thirty patients, aged above 40 years, with senile cataract were examined. Age and colour were selected as the probable preoperative indicators of nuclear hardness. The lens material collected after manual extracapsular extraction was washed and the nucleus isolated. The diameter and central thickness of the nucleus were measured; the mean diameter and mean central thickness were 7.13 mm +/- 0.76 and 3.05 mm +/- 0.48, respectively. The hardness of the nucleus was measured with a lens guillotine designed by us. Regression analysis was applied to the parameters measured and these were compared with the colour and age. The parameters measured had the following relationship: Colour vs hardness (r value = 0.7569) (p < 0.001) Colour vs diameter (r value = 0.3962) (p < 0.001) Colour vs central thickness (r value = 0.4785) (p < 0.001) Age vs hardness (r value = -0.0499) (p > 0.05) Age vs diameter (r value = 0.0987) (p > 0.05) Age vs central thickness (r value = 0.1700) (p > 0.05) The values showed that colour had a statistically significant relationship with all the 3 parameters (p < 0.001), while age had no significant relationship with the same parameters. The results indicated that colour can be used more reliably to predict physical characteristics of the cataractous lens nucleus, the preoperative knowledge of which would help the surgeon in planning small-incision surgery including phacoemulsification.