Spatial Contrast Sensitivity (CS) was studied in 20 patients with benign intracranial hypertension (BIH). At presentation CS loss was found in 43% of the eyes, and impairment of visual acuity attributed to BIH in only 16%. Nine patients had blurred vision or visual obscurations, all of whom had abnormal CS. The clinical application of CS measurement in BIH for monitoring the progression or regression of the disease is illustrated by serial measurements in 11 patients. Progressive visual loss in longstanding papilloedema and improvement of visual function in subsiding papilloedema can occur without any change in Snellen acuity or visual field charting.