"As evidenced by the high rating mentioned above, the episode is considered by many fans to be the most touching of the series' episodes. It is the favorite episode of actor Wil Wheaton, who played Ensign Wesley Crusher on the series during the first four seasons. Star Trek writer Susan Sackett notes that it is also her favourite episode even though not one she wrote. "The Inner Light" was ranked among the top five episodes in a "viewers' choice" marathon that was broadcast just prior to the premiere of the series finale. During a Q&A session at a Star Trek convention in Pasadena, Patrick Stewart was asked what his favorite ST:TNG episode was, and he responded that it was this episode.
This episode won the 1993 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. The award was given at the World Science Fiction Convention in San Francisco. "The Inner Light" was the first television program to be so honored since the original Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" won in 1968. The other Hugo Award-winning Star Trek episodes are "The Menagerie" (the only two-part episode of the original series) and "All Good Things..." (the series finale for The Next Generation)."