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Temporal arteritis 50 years on
  1. J F Cullen
  1. Dr J F Cullen, Singapore National Eye Centre, 11 Third Hospital Ave, Singapore 168751; jbarrycullen{at}

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Today, even the most junior trainee ophthalmologist knows that the diagnosis of temporal or giant cell arteritis (GCA) must be considered in any elderly patient presenting with acute visual loss, especially if associated with an ischaemic optic neuropathy (ION) or a central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO).

This was not the case 50 years ago when, on 12 April 1958, the first pathological proven case from the UK of ION associated with GCA was presented at a meeting in Newcastle upon Tyne of the North of England Ophthalmolgical Society. The clinical features of this patient were published in 1963 (Case 1)1 and the pathology in this journal in 1967.2

The role of the ciliary circulation in the blood supply of the optic nerve head was not fully appreciated in 1958, being described in detail also in this journal in 1969.3 Furthermore, ION associated with GCA is not mentioned in the second edition of Walsh’s Clinical Neuro-Ophthalmology published in 1957, which at that time was the main neuro-ophthalmology reference book.

It might thus be of interest to recall the clinical features of this case and to …

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  • Competing interests: None.