Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery during ophthalmology training. This study aims to investigate how experience in simulated cataract surgery impacts and transfers to the learning curves for novices in vitreoretinal surgery. Twelve ophthalmology residents without previous experience in intraocular surgery were randomised to (1) intensive training in cataract surgery on a virtual-reality simulator until passing a test with predefined validity evidence (cataract trainees) or to (2) no cataract surgery training (novices). Possible skill transfer was assessed using a test consisting of all 11 vitreoretinal modules on the EyeSi virtual-reality simulator. All participants repeated the test of vitreoretinal surgical skills until their performance curve plateaued. Three experienced vitreoretinal surgeons also performed the test to establish validity evidence. They did not find a transfer effect with no significant differences found between cataract trainees and novices in their starting scores time to reach maximum performance level, or maximum scores. This information is relevant in planning and delivery of surgical training in vitreo-retinal surgery. Further studies may be done to investigate the transfer effects in other surgeries.