To evaluate the development of central atrophy in eyes with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Six-year longitudinal multimodal retinal imaging data (MODIAMD study) from 98 eyes of 98 subjects with non-late-stage AMD in the study eye at baseline were analyzed for the presence of central atrophy at each annual follow-up visit. Development, manifestation, and further progression of complete retinal pigment epithelium and outer retinal atrophy (cRORA) by multimodal imaging data were compared with atrophy detection based on color fundus photography only. Seventeen study eyes with development of central cRORA within 6 years (cumulative rate: 17.4%) were identified based on multimodal imaging. In 10 (60%) of these eyes, presence of central manifest atrophy was initially not detectable by color fundus photography. In six (35%) eyes, central cRORA occurred by the spread of existing paracentral atrophy toward the fovea. Drusen-associated atrophy development was noted in eight eyes. In two eyes, atrophy development was associated with refractile deposits, while only pigmentary changes in absence of large drusen or refractile deposits were detectable before atrophy occurrence in one eye. The earlier and more precise detection of central cRORA by multimodal imaging as compared to atrophy detection solely based on color fundus photography allows for more accurate detection and identification of different pathways for atrophy development. In accordance with previous clinical and histopathologic reports, the results confirm that different precursor lesions may independently proceed to central cRORA in AMD.