Age related macular degeneration affects approximately one in three of the population by age 75 years and is the commonest cause of blindness in the Western world, accounting for 54 per cent of all cases of registered blindness in people over 65 years. In this article, James Self, Poorna Abeysiri and Professor Andrew Lotery review the causal factors, the symptoms, how the disease progresses and discuss how best to treat the condition.