The present study aims to investigate the effect of wholegrain and legume consumption on the incidence of age-related cataract in an older Australian population-based cohort. The Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES) is a population-based cohort study of eye diseases among older adults aged 49 years or older (1992–1994, n 3654). Of 2334 participants of the second examination of the BMES (BMES 2, 1997–2000), 1541 (78·3 % of survivors) were examined 5 years later (BMES 3) who had wholegrain and legume consumption estimated from the FFQ at BMES 2. Cataract was assessed using photographs taken during examinations following the Wisconsin cataract grading system. Multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models were used to assess associations with the 5-year incidence of cataract from BMES 2 (baseline) to BMES 3. The 5-year incidence of cortical, nuclear and posterior subcapsular (PSC) cataract was 18·2, 16·5 and 5·9 %, respectively. After adjustment for age, sex and other factors, total wholegrain consumption at baseline was not associated with incidence of any type of cataract. High consumption of legumes showed a protective association for incident PSC cataract (5th quintile: adjusted OR 0·37; 95 % CI 0·15, 0·92). There was no significant trend of this association across quintiles (P = 0·08). In this older Australian population, we found no associations between wholegrain intake at baseline and the 5-year incidence of three cataract types. However, intake of legumes in the highest quintile, compared with the lowest quintile, may protect against PSC formation, a finding needing replication in other studies.