Temporal arteritis is generally a benign and self-limiting disease, which has been recognized for approximately 50 years. Although it has been uncommon, it is becoming increasingly prevalent among elderly individuals. Its major complication involves loss of vision, and approximately 50 per cent of all untreated patients become blind in one or both eyes. This can be prevented by early recognition and prompt treatment of the disease process. Steroids given to suppress the inflammatory involvement of the arterial wall safeguard the blood supply to the eye. If vision is lost, however, the loss is usually permanent. Although its diagnosis can be confusing initially, temporal arteritis should be easily diagnosed by its local and systemic manifestations, including headache of recent onset in an elderly patient, visual disturbance, an increased sedimentation rate, and a classic palpable tenderness along the course of the temporal artery. Immediate hospitalization is recommended when the diagnosis is made and steroid therapy is begun, along with measures for symptomatic relief of headaches. With the increasingly aging population in the United States, one predicts that this disease entity of obscure etiology will become prevalent. Thus all physicians should have a basic knowledge and understanding of the disease process.