The fractured view

8 May 2019
Spring 2019

The average age of those with symptoms of posterior cortical atrophy is 58. Kathy Oxtoby asks how optometrists can spot the signs.

Patients with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) face complex visual-processing disturbances. Professor Sebastian Crutch attempts to describe them. “One moment, someone with PCA could be seeing something; the next, it could vanish before their eyes. Some people with PCA describe it as looking at the world through a fractured mirror,” says the Professor of Neuropsychology at the Dementia Research Centre, University College London (UCL).

PCA is a rare degenerative neurological disease affecting the posterior cortex, causing a range of complex disturbances in visual processing. Precise estimates of how many people have this form of dementia are difficult to determine – largely because it’s still under-recognised and misdiagnosed, but some studies have suggested that around 5% of those diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may have PCA.

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