Recent advances in the immunopathology of giant cell arteritis

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
International Ophthalmology Clinics 02/2009; 49(1):99-109. DOI: 10.1097/IIO.0b013e3181923d9e
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (AION) is a disease of the optic nerve head seen in patients over the age of 50 and more commonly over the age of 70. With few exceptions, arteritic AION is caused by giant cell arteritis. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment with corticosteroids are essential for preventing potentially devastating visual loss from this disease. A 63-year-old white man presented with the complaints of blurred vision of the right eye and visual field loss of the left eye. Ocular examination found bilateral swollen optic nerve heads. Visual field testing showed altitudinal defects in each eye. Laboratory testing was significant for elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. The patient was treated with oral prednisone for arteritic AION and referred to a rheumatologist. At follow-up, the patient's ESR and CRP levels showed significant improvement. The optic nerve head of the left eye showed a reduction in swelling, and the visual field finding was stable. Arteritic AION is an ocular emergency. Optometrists need to be able to recognize and diagnose this condition quickly to initiate critical corticosteroid treatment.
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