Age-related macular degeneration is a diffuse condition involving the retinal pigment epithelium, the photoreceptor cell layer, and perhaps the choriocapillaris. The early morphologic change is the development of basal deposits of two distinct types. This phase is not ophthalmoscopically detectable but psychophysical testing may demonstrate reduced function. The process becomes detectable with the occurrence of secondary changes in the pigment epithelium, soft drusen formation, and choroidal neovascularization. A reparative response results in disciform scars. The various morphologic forms of age-related macular degeneration are interrelated.