The diagnosis and management of temporal arteritis

Clin Exp Optom. 2020 Sep;103(5):572-582. doi: 10.1111/cxo.12975. Epub 2019 Oct 29.


Temporal arteritis (TA), or giant cell arteritis, is a systemic autoimmune vasculitis affecting patients over 50 years of age. It can cause rapid, irreversible bilateral vision loss in older adults and is therefore considered an ophthalmological emergency. Many of the symptoms and signs of TA can be vague, non-specific and gradual in onset, often leading to a delayed or inaccurate diagnosis. As such, it is important for a wide variety of primary optometrists and health practitioners to maintain a robust understanding of the clinical presentation, key investigations and time-sensitive management of this disease, as early initiation of treatment for TA can be vision- and life-saving.

Keywords: arteritic anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy; giant cell arteritis; polymyalgia rheumatica; temporal arteritis; temporal artery biopsy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Management*
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / diagnosis*
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography
  • Temporal Arteries / pathology*