IMPORTANCE The age at which the first signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) manifest is variable. Better insight into factors that influence disease onset has direct implications for preventive measures and patient counseling. OBJECTIVE To identify risk factors for an earlier age at onset of neovascular AMD. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Retrospective cohort study, including patient data from the European Genetic Database collected between April 2006 and July 2010. All patients had at least 1 documented visit to the outpatient AMD clinic of the Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, a tertiary referral center for retinal disorders. In total, 275 patients with a known age at onset of neovascular AMD and a genetic risk analysis were included. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Effects of several genetic, sociodemographic, behavioral, and ocular factors on the age at onset of neovascular AMD. The mean differences in the age at onset were determined using general linear models with the age at onset as the dependent variable. RESULTS Past smokers and current smokers developed neovascular AMD on average 4.9 (95% CI, 3.0-6.8) and 7.7 (95% CI, 5.3-10.0) years earlier, respectively, than never smokers (P < .001 for both). Compared with the reference group, the age at onset was 5.2 (95% CI, 2.8-7.7) years earlier for homozygous carriers of the A69S risk allele in the age-related maculopathy susceptibility 2 (ARMS2) gene (P < .001). Homozygous carriers of the Y402H risk variant in the complement factor H (CFH) gene developed neovascular AMD 2.8 (95% CI, 0.5-5.0) years earlier (P = .02). Patients carrying 4 risk alleles in CFH and ARMS2 developed neovascular AMD 12.2 (95% CI, 6.2-18.3) years earlier than patients with zero risk alleles (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Genetic and environmental risk factors influence the age at onset of neovascular AMD. Individuals at risk could be identified at an early age if and when preventive or therapeutic options become available. Insight into individual risk profiles might influence patients' consideration of interventions to increase their chance of avoiding vision loss from AMD.