Cynaroside is a flavonoid compound proved to possess antioxidant activity, but its protective effect on age-related macular degeneration still remains unclear. In this study, the protective effects of cynaroside on oxidative stress and apoptosis in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells induced by hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2 ) were investigated. Results showed that cynaroside effectively attenuated the decrease of cell activity induced by H2 O2 . The total reactive oxygen species can be remitted by decreasing malondialdehyde level, as well as increasing glutathione level, and superoxide dismutase and catalase activities. In addition, Western blot analysis indicated that cynaroside protected ARPE-19 cells from apoptosis through downregulation of caspase-3 protein activation which was controlled by the upstream proteins Bcl-2 and Bax. It was finally proved that cynaroside could enhance the antioxidant and antiapoptotic ability in ARPE-19 cells by promoting the expression of p-Akt.