The visual function of 35 patients with a diagnosis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension was assessed prospectively over a 3 year period. In assessing the visual function of cases of idiopathic intracranial hypertension a number of tests were employed including visual field assessment with Humphrey and Goldmann perimeters and documentation of visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. Loss of visual function is the only serious complication and may occur early or late in the course of the condition. An appropriate and sensitive clinical assessment regime is therefore of importance in the outpatient situation. Visual field assessment was documented as the most sensitive to detection of visual loss, with statistically greater sensitivity in comparison with visual acuity and contrast sensitivity testing. Detection of asymptomatic visual loss indicates the necessity for visual monitoring to ensure detection of insidious visual loss. The types of visual field defects noted in this study were typical of anterior optic nerve pathology of raised intracranial pressure and commonly included arcuate defects, nasal steps and global constriction. Visual loss was noted at presentation and during follow-up in up to 87% of patients using Goldmann perimetry and up to 82% of patients using Humphrey perimetry. The visual status improved significantly throughout the follow-up period and the final visual outcome was excellent or good in 83% of patients.