People with choroidal neovascularization (CNV) due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are at high risk of central vision loss. Until verteporfin therapy became available, there was no safe and effective treatment for a large majority of these people. The phase III clinical trials of verteporfin therapy showed that treatment could safely reduce the risk of vision loss in the majority of patients presenting with either predominantly classic CNV or with occult with no classic CNV, and in selected patients with minimally classic CNV. The decision to treat patients with subfoveal CNV due to AMD using verteporfin therapy, requires an understanding of the outcomes of these clinical trials and of published guidelines. This review presents the key findings of the trials and outlines the factors that should be considered in clinical practice when deciding whether verteporfin therapy is indicated.