Summary Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in elderly populations of European descent. The most consistent risk factors associated with this ocular condition are increasing age and cigarette smoking. Genetic investigations have shown that complement factor H, a regulator of the alternative complement pathway, and LOC387715/HtrA1 are the most consistent genetic risk factors for age-related macular degeneration. Although the pathogenesis of this disease is unknown, oxidative stress might have an important role. Treatment with antioxidant vitamins and zinc can reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration by about a quarter in those at least at moderate risk. Intravitreal injections of ranibizumab, a monoclonal antibody that inhibits all forms of vascular endothelial growth factor, have been shown to stabilise loss of vision and, in some cases, improve vision in individuals with neovascular age-related macular degeneration. These findings, combined with assessments of possible environmental and genetic interactions and new approaches to modulate inflammatory pathways, will hopefully further expand our ability to understand and treat age-related macular degeneration.