Purpose: To determine whether patients with age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) benefit from cataract surgery and to assess the risk of progression of preexisting maculopathy 4 and 12 months postoperatively. Setting: Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland. Methods: Two groups of patients were evaluated prospectively. The study group comprised patients with ARMD scheduled to have cataract surgery (n = 40). The control group comprised patients with ARMD not having cataract surgery (n = 43). Patients were assessed at baseline (preoperatively) and 4 and 12 months postoperatively. Assessment included visual function tests and quality of life (QoL) measures. The mean values for each item tested were obtained for each group at each visit, and comparisons between visits were done using the Wilcoxon signed rank test. Results: There were significant benefits of cataract surgery in terms of visual function and QoL measures at 4 and 12 months. There was no increased risk of progression of maculopathy in the study group. There were no significant differences in the items tested in the control group. Conclusions: One year postoperatively, QoL benefits were maintained in the study group and there was no increased risk of progression of maculopathy in patients with mild and moderate degrees of ARMD. Larger numbers of patients must be assessed prospectively for longer periods to determine the relative risk of progression of different stages of ARMD after cataract surgery. © 2003 ASCRS and ESCRS.