Orbital presentations of giant cell arteritis

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2001 Jul;239(7):509-13. doi: 10.1007/s004170100310.


Background: giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a systemic vasculitis that may affect the optic nerve and cause blindness (e.g. ischemic optic neuropathy). Orbital inflammatory disease, however, is an uncommon presentation of GCA.

Purpose: to alert clinicians to the orbital presentations of GCA.

Patients and methods: a retrospective case series from tertiary care academic ophthalmic referral centers of four patients with orbital manifestations of giant cell arteritis.

Results: presentation of cases and review of the literature. In three cases, a temporal artery biopsy was diagnostic of GCA, but in one case, an orbital biopsy was needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Conclusion: GCA can have orbital manifestations and clinicians should be aware of this unusual presentation of GCA in cases of presumed orbital inflammatory pseudotumor in the elderly.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / diagnosis*
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / drug therapy
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Orbital Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Orbital Diseases / drug therapy
  • Temporal Arteries / pathology*
  • Visual Acuity


  • Glucocorticoids