Which ophthalmologic findings suggest giant cell arteritis (GCA) (temporal arteritis)?

Updated: Sep 03, 2020
  • Author: Mythili Seetharaman, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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A complete eye examination should be performed, including the following:

  • Visual acuity
  • Pupillary exam
  • Visual fields
  • Motility
  • Slit lamp exam
  • Fundoscopy

Special attention should be paid to the optic nerve and central retinal artery. The retina should be carefully examined for nerve fiber layer infarcts.   

The most common cause of vision loss in GCA is anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (AION), which is caused by vasculitis of the posterior ciliary artery. [66, 67, 64, 69, 66, 71, 67, 65, 32, 69] Vision loss may precede the funduscopic changes of optic nerve infarction by roughly 36 hours. [66]

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