Photodynamic therapy (PDT) with verteporfin has been used less comprehensively in the treatment of exudative age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and specifically of choroidal neovascularization (CNV), since the advent of antiangiogenic therapies. Recently, there has been a renewed interest in PDT as an adjunct to these and other agents in the treatment of neovascular AMD. In light of this new development and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency's (EMEA) recent labelling decision to rescind approval for the use of PDT in occult CNV lesions, the present systematic review was undertaken to revisit the evidence supporting its clinical application. Photodynamic therapy provided the first pharmacological treatment for patients suffering from subfoveal CNV, the major cause of severe vision loss in AMD. Key clinical trials evaluating efficacy and safety have examined patients with all lesion subtypes, with the primary labelled indication (i.e. lesions containing a classic component of > or = 50% ) deriving from the results of the Treatment of Age-related Macular Degeneration with Photodynamic Therapy (TAP) Study. The subsequent TAP Study Group post hoc categorization of lesions as predominantly classic is open to question, however, as it appears that the overall efficacy in this group only may have reflected the especially strong response in 100% classic lesions. Based on a subgroup analysis of the Verteporfin in Photodynamic Therapy Study, the indication for PDT subsequently was expanded in some jurisdictions, including that of the EMEA, to include occult lesions with no classic component. However, the subsequent Visudyne in Occult Study found no benefit in 100% occult lesions, resulting in the EMEA rescinding its approval for this indication.