PURPOSE To assess the impact of cataract surgery on vision related quality of life (VRQoL) and generic health related quality of life (HRQoL) in Kenya, Bangladesh and the Philippines. METHODS A multi-center intervention study was conducted. At baseline 651 cases aged ≥50 years with visually impairing cataract (corrected visual acuity (VA) <6/24) and 561 age- gender-matched controls with normal vision (VA>6/18) were interviewed about VRQoL (using the World Health Organization/ Prevention of Blindness and Deafness 20-item Visual Functioning Questionnaire [WHO/PBD VF20]) and generic HRQoL (EuroQol). Cases were offered free/subsidized cataract surgery. Approximately 1 year later participants were re-interviewed. RESULTS Response rate at follow up was 84% for operated cases and 80% for controls. At baseline, cases had significantly poorer VRQoL scores, were more likely to report problems with the EuroQol 5D five descriptive (EQ-SD) domains (mobility, daily activities, self-care, pain, depression/anxiety) and had significantly poorer self-rated health compared to controls. At follow up VRQoL scores of operated cases improved significantly to approximately equal those of controls. Effect sizes were large (> 0.8) regardless of pre-operative VA. Poor outcome from surgery (VA < 6/60) was associated with smaller VRQoL gains. Among operated cases frequency of reported problems with all the EQ-5D reduced significantly compared to baseline in Kenya and the Philippines, and in mobility, daily activities and self-care in Bangladesh. Self-rated health scores increased significantly in each country. HRQoL of controls remained stable from baseline to follow up. CONCLUSION This study among adults undergoing cataract surgery in 3 different low-income settings found evidence of improved VRQoL and generic HRQoL to approximately equal that of controls with normal vision.