To evaluate the type of information on the Internet that may be encounteredby the curious patient and to assess the manner in which this informationis presented, we conducted a limited study in which we used 7 common searchengines to look for information with macular degeneration as the search term. Using go.com, aol.com, lycos.com, askjeeves.com,msn.com, yahoo.com, and google.com, we evaluated the top 10 search results(accessed October 20, 2002) from each search engine and placed them in 1 of3 broad categories: strictly commercial (eg, vitamin supplements or illuminationand vision aids), primarily or exclusively informational (organizations suchas the American Macular Degeneration Foundation) with occasional links tocommercial entities, or governmental or educational (eg, National Eye Institute,National Institutes of Health, and hospital or educational information associatedwith universities). We developed a scoring technique in which each entitywas first categorized and then ranked according to its position on the searchlist (1-10). We used a weighted score technique that combined the categoryof each site with its position in the top 10 search results list to give aweighted impact score. We then calculated the relative exposure of each categorywith the assumption that Internet users pay more attention to the top searchresults than to the bottom results.