Risk factors for early visual deterioration in temporal arteritis

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2007 Nov;78(11):1255-9. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2006.113787. Epub 2007 May 15.


Background: Despite corticosteroid treatment, patients with temporal arteritis may continue to lose vision. However, predictors of progressive visual loss are not known.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 341 consecutive patients with suspected temporal arteritis who underwent temporal artery biopsy. 90 patients with biopsy proven temporal arteritis were included in our study.

Results: Twenty-one patients (23%) experienced continuous visual symptoms despite steroid therapy and 14 among these suffered persistent visual deterioration. Based on univariate analysis, visual loss on presentation was associated with disc swelling and a history of hypertension. Risk factors for progressive visual loss included older age, elevated C reactive protein and disc swelling.

Conclusion: Although corticosteroid therapy improves the visual prognosis in temporal arteritis, steroids may not stop the progression of visual loss. Our study reliably establishes the risk factors for visual loss in this serious condition. Whether addressing these risk factors early in their presentation can alter the visual outcome remains unknown. Individual risk anticipating treatment regimens and strategies might improve the visual prognosis in temporal arteritis in the future.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Disease Progression
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / diagnosis*
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / drug therapy
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Papilledema / diagnosis
  • Papilledema / drug therapy
  • Papilledema / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Temporal Arteries / pathology
  • Vision Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Vision Disorders / drug therapy
  • Vision Disorders / pathology
  • Visual Acuity / drug effects


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones