Posterior cortical atrophy

Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) is a rare form of dementia that usually begins by affecting a person’s vision. It is also known as Benson’s syndrome.

While there are no treatments specifically for PCA, medicines that are given to people with Alzheimer’s disease may be offered to those with PCA.

These drugs work by helping nerve cells in the brain to communicate with each other. They may help to improve a person’s symptoms for a time, but they do not stop the disease from getting worse. Some people find their condition improves on these drugs, but others may not notice an effect.

These drugs are called:

  • donepezil
  • rivastigmine
  • galantamine
  • memantine

Drug and non-drug treatments may also be offered to help people with symptoms like depression and anxiety. For more information, including some of the side-effects of these drugs, talk to your doctor or visit our Treatments for dementia page.

Physiotherapy or occupational therapy may help people with PCA to find ways to manage some of their symptoms. Some people with PCA may also benefit from visual aids and resources for people with sight problems. These may include audio books, devices with simple displays, voice recognition software and walking aids. People may choose to carry a symbol cane to let others know they have sight problems. For more information contact the Royal National Institute of Blind People or call 0303 123 9999.

This information was written in April 2019 and is due for review in April 2021. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.

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