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.

What is Posterior cortical atrophy?

PCA is caused by damage to the brain cells at the back of the brain that make sense of what our eyes are seeing. It is also known as Benson's syndrome.

Alzheimer’s disease is most often the cause of the brain cell damage in PCA, but it is sometimes caused by other diseases, such as dementia with Lewy bodies. PCA is sometimes called a visual form of Alzheimer’s. However, the early signs of PCA and typical Alzheimer’s can be very different. Alzheimer’s disease usually affects memory first, but in PCA the first signs are often problems with vision and perception.

People often develop PCA at an earlier age than typical Alzheimer's disease, usually between the ages of 50 and 65. PCA is a less common form of dementia, and at the moment we can’t be sure how many people around the world are affected by it.

What is posterior cortical atrophy?

Find out more about the symptoms and causes of posterior cortical atrophy, and the treatments currently available.


Order health information

Alzheimer’s Research UK has a wide range of information about dementia. Order booklets or download them from our online form.

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.

Was this information helpful?

Let us know what you think by filling out this short survey.


Dementia Research Infoline

Want to know more about current research? Keen to get involved in research projects?

Contact the Dementia Research Infoline,

9am-5pm, Monday to Friday

0300 111 5 111