The macula is a small central section of the retina. It is responsible for providing the sharp vision that you need for reading, recognizing faces and driving.1 Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of sight loss in people over the age of 65 in the United States and other Western countries.2 In the United States, more than 2 million people have the advanced forms of AMD.3

AMD can either be “dry age-related macular degeneration” or “wet age-related macular degeneration.” In the late stage of dry AMD (also called geographic atrophy [GA]), there is a gradual, patchy breakdown in the light-sensitive cells of the macula, as well as of the supporting cells beneath the macula. In the other form of advanced AMD, “wet” AMD (also called exudative or neovascular AMD), abnormal new blood vessels grow beneath the retina. These new blood vessels may leak fluid.1

Geographic atrophy (GA) is a chronic, irreversible progressive condition that can cause permanent blind spots and/or blindness, and it affects more than 5 million people globally.1,4 While approximately 20% of all patients with GA have visual acuity of 20/200 (or worse), more than half of all patients with GA experience substantial decreases in everyday visual function,4,5 which may significantly affect their quality of life. As GA progresses, it can destroy the central fovea, which is the part of the macula responsible for fine vision making it particularly hard to see in low-light conditions, to recognize faces, and to read.6,7

Common Questions about Geographic Atrophy

What is the Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

What is Geographic Atrophy? (GA)

What is the Average Age of Patients Diagnosed with GA?

What are the causes of GA?

Is GA is a Hereditary Condition?

How is GA Diagnosed?

How is GA currently treated

What is the Complement System?


  1. Facts about age-related macular degeneration. National Eye Institute Web site. 2018; Accessed May 6, 2018.
  2. Age-related macular degeneration. National Eye Institute Web site. 2018; Accessed May 6, 2018.
  3. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 2018; Accessed May 7, 2018.
  4. Sunness JS, Rubin GS, Applegate CA, et al. Visual function abnormalities and prognosis in eyes with age-related geographic atrophy of the macula and good visual acuity. Ophthalmology. 1997;104(10):1677-1691.
  5. Chakravarthy U, Bailey CC, Johnston RL, et al. Characterizing Disease Burden and Progression of Geographic Atrophy Secondary to Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Ophthalmology. 2018;125(6):842-849.
  6. Wang P, Cottrell GW. Central and peripheral vision for scene recognition: A neurocomputational modeling exploration. J Vis. 2017;17(4):9.
  7. Kolb H. Simple anatomy of the retina. Webvision Web site. 2018; Accessed July 30, 2018.
  8. Murphy K, Weaver C. Innate immunity: the first lines of defense. In: Janeway’s Immunobiology. 9th ed. London, UK: Garland Science; 2016.
  9. Boyer DS, Schmidt-Erfurth U, van Lookeren Campagne M, et al. The pathophysiology of geographic atrophy secondary to age-related macular degeneration and the complement pathway as a therapeutic target. Retina. 2017;37(5):819-835.
  10. Vaz F, Picoto M. Geographic atrophy. AMD Book Web site. Accessed May 7, 2018.
  11. Hazel CA, Petre KL, Armstrong RA, et al. Visual function and subjective quality of life compared in subjects with acquired macular disease. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2000;41(6):1309-1315.
  12. Wang W, Gawlik K, Lopez J, et al. Genetic and environmental factors strongly influence risk, severity and progression of age-related macular degeneration. Signal Transduct Target Ther. 2016;1:16016.

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