The laser flare cell meter allows rapid non-invasive quantification of aqueous flare and cells. In this prospective study laser photometry was used to document the recovery of the blood-aqueous barrier in 27 normal eyes following cataract surgery. Aqueous flare and cells were highest on the first postoperative day, declining rapidly in the first week and returning to preoperative levels by 3 months. In six eyes (22.2%) there was an increase in either flare and cells or flare alone during the first postoperative week which was associated with a delayed recovery of the blood-aqueous barrier for up to 1 month following surgery. A consensual flare response was found to occur in the fellow eye in five patients (18.5%).