Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss and blindness in elderly Americans. The etiology of this condition remains unknown and treatment options are limited. Some epidemiological findings point to a cardiovascular risk profile among persons with AMD. Documented risk factors for cardiovascular disease (such as age, smoking, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, post-menopausal estrogen use, diabetes, and dietary intake of fats, alcohol and antioxidants) have also been associated with AMD in some studies. This raises the possibility that the causal pathways for cardiovascular disease and AMD may share similar risk factors. Future research on this hypothesis could lead to important insights into etiologic factors for AMD. Research could also identify modifiable risk factors and suggest new treatment options which could prevent AMD, slow its progression, or reduce visual loss. Susceptible individuals could then be targeted for improved health promotion and disease prevention measures for this disabling and highly prevalent disorder.