Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a chronic, progressive, degenerative disease of the macula and is the leading cause of central vision loss among elderly people in the western world. Traditionally, clinical studies of AMD have described the impact of AMD, and treatments for AMD, in terms of the patient's visual acuity. However, visual acuity alone does not provide information about a patient's perception of his or her quality of life. Researchers have used a variety of instruments to measure quality of life. Several studies have shown that AMD can severely impair quality of life and that increasing vision loss is associated with increasing impairment of quality of life and frequently causes depression. Interestingly, patients with only one eye affected may become more depressed than those with both eyes affected, possibly because of uncertainty surrounding future vision loss in patients with one eye affected and a greater acceptance of the condition in those with both eyes affected. Studies also have provided some information on the possible quality of life benefits of therapy for AMD. By incorporating measurements of quality of life into the design of future prospective studies, clinical researchers may be able to obtain more comprehensive data on the impact of AMD on patients and the relative benefits of different therapies.