Lipids accumulate in Bruch's membrane (BrM), a specialized vascular intima of the eye, and in extracellular lesions associated with aging and age-related maculopathy (ARM). We tested the hypothesis that ARM and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease share molecules and mechanisms pertaining to extracellular lipid accumulation by localizing cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (apo B) in BrM, basal deposits, and drusen. Human donor eyes were preserved <4 hours postmortem and cryosectioned. Sections were stained with traditional lipid stains and filipin for esterified and unesterified cholesterol or probed with antibodies to apo B, apo E, and apo C-III. Normal adult retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) was subjected to RT-PCR and Western blot analysis for apolipoprotein mRNA and protein. Esterified and unesterified cholesterol was present in all drusen and basal deposits of ARM and normal eyes. Both apo B and apo E but not apo C-III were found in BrM, drusen, and basal deposits. Fewer macular drusen were stained by traditional lipid stains and apolipoprotein antibodies than peripheral drusen. RPE contained apo B and apo E mRNA and protein. Finding cholesterol and apo B in sub-RPE deposits links ARM with important molecules and mechanisms in atherosclerosis initiation and progression. The combination of apo B mRNA and protein in RPE raises the possibility that intraocular assembly of apo B-containing lipoproteins is a pathway involved in forming cholesterol-enriched lesions in ARM.