Giant Cell Arteritis Diagnosis
If you have vision problems, your ophthalmologist will give you a detailed eye examination. He or she will check your visual acuity and measure your eye pressure. Your ophthalmologist will also give you a dilated eye examination to look for signs of damage to the optic nerve or retina. Your doctor also will examine your head. Touching the head may show that the scalp is sensitive and has a tender, thick artery on one side. The affected artery may have a weak pulse or no pulse.
Your doctor will order blood tests. While the tests cannot confirm if you have GCA, they can show whether your body has inflammation (swelling). If the blood tests are normal, you probably do not have GCA. If the blood tests are abnormal, you will need a biopsy (sample of tissue) taken from your temple artery to confirm the findings of the blood tests. If there is inflammation in the artery, you will need steroid treatment.
Your doctor may order imaging tests, such as an MRI, to check the health of your arteries. You may also have a visual field test to see if you have lost any peripheral vision.