OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene and age-related maculopathy (ARM) in an older population. METHODS: Two thousand one hundred seventy persons 65 years and older sampled from 4 US communities had ARM signs assessed from retinal photographs using a modified Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System. DNA extracted from blood samples was analyzed for common APOE alleles. RESULTS: After controlling for age, sex, cigarette smoking, and other factors, white participants carrying the epsilon2 allele had an increased risk of late ARM (odds ratio, 2.53 [95% confidence interval, 1.08-5.90]) while carriers of the epsilon4 allele had a lower risk of late ARM (odds ratio, 0.69 [95% confidence interval, 0.19-2.50]). There were too few late ARM cases in African American individuals for analysis. CONCLUSION: APOE polymorphism is associated with late ARM in older white persons 65 years and older. Consistent with previous studies, the APOE epsilon2 allele is associated with a significant increased risk of late ARM development, whereas the epsilon4 allele may confer some protection.