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Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms
of GA

Geographic Atrophy is an unpredictable disease. While some people experience a gradual progression of their symptoms, for others, progression is rapid. GA rarely results in complete blindness, but eventually, it takes away all but your outermost vision, leaving only dim images or dark spots in the center of your vision.

One of the most common early signs of GA is slightly blurry central vision. As the disease progresses, the center of your vision may become more fuzzy; dark or missing spots may occur and increase in size; and it will become harder to see fine details and colors, particularly at night.1-3 Reading, climbing stairs, driving, buttoning a shirt, and other everyday activities may become more and more difficult.4

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, it’s important that you see a retina specialist right away.


1. Sunness JS, Schuchard R, Shen N, et al. Landmark-driven fundus perimetry using the scanning laser ophthalmoscope. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1995;36(9):1863-1874.

2. Sunness JS, Applegate CA, Haselwood D, et al. Fixation patterns and reading rates in eye with central scotomas from advanced atrophic age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt disease. Ophthalmology. 1996;103(9):1458-1466.

3. Sunness JS, Bressler NM, Tian Y, et al. Measuring geographic atrophy in advanced age-related macular degeneration. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1999;40(8):1761-1769.

4. Lindblad AS, Clemons TE, for the Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. Responsiveness of the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire to progression to advanced age-related macular degeneration, vision loss, and lens opacity. AREDS report number 14. Arch Ophthalmol. 2005;123(9):1207-1214.

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