PURPOSE: A prospective, longitudinal, population-based cohort study was performed to analyse gender-related differences in subjective and objective visual function 5 years after cataract surgery. METHODS: All patients (n = 810) who underwent cataract surgery during a 1-year period (1997-98) at Norrlands University Hospital in Umeå, Sweden, were studied with visual acuity (VA) data and questionnaires (VF-14) before and after surgery, as well as 5 years later. Five hundred and thirty patients (177 men, 353 women) answered the questionnaire, constituting 90% (530/590) of the survivors. Four hundred and sixty-seven (156 men, 311 women) also underwent an eye examination. RESULTS: The women were significantly older (P = 0.009) and were more often operated on both eyes (P = 0.005). Before surgery and postoperatively, the women had a significantly lower age- and VA-adjusted VF-14 score (P = 0.000 and P = 0.036, respectively). This difference was not significant 5 years after surgery (P = 0.16). Five years after surgery, a significantly larger proportion of women had a decline of more than 0.1 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution of the better-seeing eye (P = 0.013). There were no significant gender-related differences in the operated eye. CONCLUSION: Female cataract surgery patients assess their visual function worse than males after adjustment for age and VA preoperatively and postoperatively. These differences were not significant 5 years after surgery although the men had better best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) of their better eye. It is important to be aware of gender-related differences in perception when performing questionnaire-based outcome studies.