Visual function and quality of life among patients with giant cell (temporal) arteritis

J Neuroophthalmol. 2001 Dec;21(4):266-73. doi: 10.1097/00041327-200112000-00008.


Objective: To investigate patient perception of visual and systemic disability associated with giant cell arteritis (GCA) and whether the perceived disability can be correlated with visual performance measures.

Methods: We prospectively evaluated and compared the visual performance and quality of life survey for 20 patients with GCA after 4 to 5 weeks of corticosteroid therapy and after one year of therapy. We measured visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and threshold perimetry and patients completed the Activities of Daily Vision Scale (ADVS) and the short-form of the Health Survey (SF-36). The results were grouped by GCA affected or unaffected eye or by better or worse eye and reported as a decimal and percent impairment for acuity, log units for contrast, mean deviation and the Advanced Glaucoma Intervention Study (AGIS) score for perimetry. The results for patients with and without visual loss were compared. Correlation analyses between ADVS categories and visual performance measures, SF-36 categories and the presence of visual loss, total corticosteroid dose, systemic symptoms, secondary hypertension or diabetes mellitus, the presence of vertebral fracture, and visual performance were performed.

Results: Day driving was the only ADVS category significantly reduced at baseline in patients with visual loss (62.5) compared with those without visual loss (96.3, P = 0.04). Modest to moderate correlations between ADVS categories were most frequent for percent binocular acuity impairment with day driving (r = -0.62, P = 0.017), with distance vision (r = -0.5, P = 0.02), and with glare (r = -0.59, P = 0.006); and the AGIS score of the worse eye with day driving (r = -0.66, P = 0.01), with near vision (r = -0.49, P = 0.03), and with glare (r = -0.48, P = 0.04). The baseline SF-36 scores did not correlate with the presence of vision loss at baseline or systemic complications. The ADVS and SF-36 scores were similar at one year. The total dose of corticosteroids only had a modest correlation with the one-year mental health score (r = -0.45, P = 0.05), but there was no correlation between SF-36 scores and other systemic side effects of steroid therapy.

Conclusion: Except for the day driving score, the ADVS did not differ between patients with and without visual loss. The SF-36 did not distinguish between patients with and without visual loss and did not reveal significant trends. The ADVS and SF-36 did not reveal significant disability in GCA patients and there were no strong correlations with any visual performance or systemic measures.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / drug therapy
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / psychology*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Visual Acuity*


  • Glucocorticoids