In a controlled, randomized trial in 45 cataract operations a new synthetic absorbable suture (8-0 monofilament Vicryl, made by Ethicon), was compared with monofilament nylon or virgin silk normally used. There was a higher incidence of early complications-hyphaema, shallow anterior chamber, and choroidal detachment (15-4 per cent v. 0 per cent)-with the absorbable suture. But these differences were not significant at the 0-05 level and might well disappear with more operative experience, particularly the modified technique of knot-tying. In handling qualities Vicryl was superior to both 10-0 monofilament nylon and 8-0 virgin silk with the exception of knot-tying, in which it was inferior to 8-0 virgin silk. Vicryl is considered to be a useful absorbable suture in cataract surgery but knot-tying requires modification of technique.