Background While the aetiology of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?a major blinding disease?remains unknown, the disease is strongly associated with variants in the complement factor H (CFH) gene. CFH variants also confer susceptibility to invasive infection with several bacterial colonizers of the nasopharyngeal mucosa. This shared susceptibility locus implicates complement deregulation as a common disease mechanism, and suggests the possibility that microbial interactions with host complement may trigger AMD. In this study, we address this possibility by testing the hypothesis that AMD is associated with specific microbial colonization of the human nasopharynx. Results High-throughput Illumina sequencing of the V3-V6 region of the microbial 16S ribosomal RNA gene was used to comprehensively and accurately describe the human pharyngeal microbiome, at genus level, in 245 AMD patients and 386 controls. Based on mean and differential microbial abundance analyses, we determined an overview of the pharyngeal microbiota, as well as candidate genera (Prevotella and Gemella) suggesting an association towards AMD health and disease conditions. Conclusions Utilizing an extensive study population from Singapore, our results provided an accurate description of the pharyngeal microbiota profiles in AMD health and disease conditions. Through identification of candidate genera that are different between conditions, we provide preliminary evidence for the existence of microbial triggers for AMD. Ethical approval for this study was obtained through the Singapore Health Clinical Institutional Review Board, reference numbers R799/63/2010 and 2010/585/A.