Some patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) will develop geographic atrophy (GA), which refers to patches or regions of the retina where cells waste away and die (atrophy). Sometimes these regions of atrophy look like a map to the doctor who is examining the retina, hence the term geographic atrophy. 

GA is the advanced form of dry AMD and causes around 20 percent of legal blindness in North America. GA can affect one or both eyes, and a patient with GA in one eye is more likely to develop it in the other.  

Geographic atrophy (GA) can result in the progressive and irreversible loss of regions of the retina which leads to a loss of visual function over time.  Photoreceptors, special cells in the eye’s retina responsible for converting light into signals sent to the brain, weaken and die (“atrophy”). These patches or dead zones result in an expanding blind spot near the center of the visual field.

Currently, there is no approved treatment for GA. BrightFocus is urgently working to change this, funding several investigations into new drugs and ways to manage and treat this complex form of AMD.  



An illustration depicting geographic atrophy.

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Feel free to download a helpful fact sheet on geographic atrophy, what it is, how it is diagnosed, and how to live well with the condition.