Temporal arteritis (or giant cell arteritis, GCA) affects blood vessels and muscles. It seldom affects patients younger than 50 years. Symptoms are a feeling of general illness with loss of weight, fever, muscle pain, pain when chewing, and soreness of the cheek muscles and the temples. Prodromes may be experienced in the form of sudden loss of vision that lasts for a few seconds to around a minute. A large arterial branch may suddenly become blocked causing vision to be completely lost within a minute. Levels of SR/CRP are often very high (although this is not always the case). A swollen and pale optic nerve head can be seen in the acute situation. Peripapillar haemorrhage may occur.
If temporal arteritis is suspected, treatment with steroids should be started immediately, while waiting for the results of a temporal biopsy. If one eye has been affected, there is a serious risk that the other eye will also be affected.
Updated: June 2, 2017