Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in the elderly whose etiology remains largely unknown. Previous studies identified chromosome 1q32 as harboring a susceptibility locus for AMD. We used single-nucleotide polymorphisms to interrogate this region and identified a strongly associated haplotype in two independent data sets. DNA resequencing of the complement factor H gene within this haplotype revealed a common coding variant, Y402H, that significantly increases the risk for AMD with odds ratios between 2.45 and 5.57. This common variant likely explains ~43% of AMD in older adults.