PURPOSE: To examine the association between age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and depressive symptoms. METHODS: Population-based, cross-sectional study. A total of 2,194 persons aged 69-97 years were included in the current analyses. During the 1997-1998 examination, retinal photography from one randomly selected eye was graded for presence of early and late AMD using a modified Wisconsin AMD by Grading System. Depressive symptoms were assessed via a modified version of the Centers for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale annually from 1989 through 1997-1998. Depressive symptoms were defined as a CES-D score of >9 (top quartile of CES-D score) at the 1997-1998 examination. RESULTS: There were 338 (15.6%) individuals with early AMD and 29 (1.3%) with late AMD. Among them, 368 (16.8%) persons had depressive symptoms at the 1997-1998 examination. Depressive symptoms were not associated with early AMD (multivariable adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 0.97; 95% confidence intervals [CI]: 0.69-1.36) or late AMD (OR: 1.15; 95% CI: 0.38-3.46). Including persons using anti-depressive medications did not alter these associations (OR: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.74-1.32 for early AMD and OR: 0.97; 95% CI: 0.35-2.67 for late AMD). There was no association in multinomial logistic regression models of increasing quartiles of the CES-D scores with early or late AMD status. CONCLUSIONS: Our study did not find an association between early AMD and depressive symptoms in older people.