Peripheral retinal arteriolar leakage in giant cell arteritis: a case report

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A 76-year old African American female with a history of arteritic ischemic optic neuropathy (AION) secondary to biopsy-proven giant cell arteritis (GCA) presented with unilateral vision loss in her contralateral eye despite high-dose oral steroid treatment. Dilated fundus examination revealed three cotton wool spots. Fluorescein angiography showed slowed arteriolar filling with late staining of small peripheral arteries, consistent with small vessel arteritis. Laboratory tests for alternative vasculitides were negative. Review of her temporal artery biopsy specimen confirmed lymphoplasmacytic inflammation around small adventitial vessels with no destructive granulomatous or leukocytoclastic small vessel vasculitis, consistent with GCA. Our unique case demonstrates peripheral small vessel retinal arteriolar leakage in GCA, which is a rare finding. This association is of interest because GCA is commonly associated with medium to large vessel pathology without small vessel involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalJournal of Ophthalmic Inflammation and Infection
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Case report
  • Cotton wool spot
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Retinal arteriolar leakage
  • Retinal vascular leakage
  • Temporal arteritis
  • Vasculitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Ophthalmology


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