It is 4 years plus since I was diagnosed with GCA [double vision etc,etc] and 2 years ago when down to 1mg of Prednisolone I had a relapse. I'm down to 2.5 mg of Pred now and continuing with a slow reduction. However, last year I had a seizure and had three more since. There is a research paper by P.L.Silbert and E.G. Stewart-Wynne entitled "Seizures and giant cell arteritis: what is the relationship?". I should very much like to learn whether any of our contributors have suffered seizures and GCA together? Also, have they done any research and could give me pointers to the sources if so.

If GCA can affect eyesight/optical nerve, can it also affect other brain functions?

10 Replies

  • (designed for doctors)

    mentions under Complications "Central nervous system disease: seizures, cerebral vascular accidents. SSS and brain ischaemia. Intracranial vessels are involved only rarely. Peripheral nerve involvement is also rare."

    "Only rarely" acknowledges it happens - but not often.

    Since it is behind a pay wall I can't read the article you mention - but I'm not convinced it is a research paper, it is listed under Publication type as "Letter" and there is no abstract to be found anywhere.

    However, this

    does discuss it in more detail.

    Any inflammation of blood vessels can interrupt the blood flow to any structures, it depends which arteries are involved. GCA can affect any artery in the body which has an elastic layer in the structure of the vessel wall. So while in GCA we typically think of the supply to the optic nerve being stopped, it can be anywhere in the brain, just like a stroke, that is really all GCA is, one cause of stroke. The swollen artery walls narrow the space in the middle and if the blood vessel is small even a few red blood cells all arriving together can get trapped. Any bits of clot floating around the circulation will stick even more easily. The blood flow is interrupted to structures the other side of the blockage. If they lose their oxygen supply for long enough, they are damaged as cells die off. You have what is called a stroke.

    There are other forms of vasculitis that affect brain function too for much the same reasons.

    Hope this helps - I know it is professional speak - ask if you don't understand stuff. There won't be much available in plain English!!!!

  • PMR/Pro,

    I have recently been diagnosed with ocular Myastenia Gravis. I have had blurred vision, sometimes double vision, drooping of the right eyelid. I am also starting to have some weakening and changes in the sound of my voice. I am seeing a neurologist for these new illness. Hopefully, I will not develop general Myasthenia Gravis which can affect all the internal and external voluntary muscles in the body.

    As you know, I have been dealing with GCA/ PMR these last two years. I, too, wonder if there could be some correlation with getting another autoimmune disorder that affects my eyes.

  • There is a link in developing another autoimmune disorder yes, once you have one you are more likely to develop another than someone who doesn't already have one.

    But strictly speaking GCA doesn't affect the eyes directly - it affects blood vessels and if it affects the artery that supplies the optic nerve with blood and oxygen it damages it. That is what causes the eye part of GCA.

    So I think for you it is sheer bad luck. I do hope they can manage it well.

  • Thanks PMR pro. I hope so too.

  • your droopy eye constant or does it come and go? .....mine droops on the opposite side of my GCA symptoms ....I'm being sent to a neuro-opthamologist by my optometrist as she can't figure out my changing vision....I'm wondering if she's thinking ocular MG....I too have periods of hoarse voice...


  • Doralouise,

    The drooping right eyelid comes and goes at this time. It is especially bad when I get up at night and early en the morning. Also, if I have read too long or watched TV too long. My sed rate and CRP went up before this was diagnosed. We thought it was a GCA flare as I had severe headaches for a week and jaw pain. The elevates in the labs may have been caused by both conditions.

    I wish you the best. Please let us know what you find out. We are here for you. 😍❤

  • Thank you for your lid closes often when I read or was first apparent when I was diagnosed with PMR a year before the GCA....since then it has come and gone but steady the last few optometrist is baffled by my vision changes every time I has made getting glasses appointment isn't for some time but I will report the result.


  • I am interested in what you write about your vision issues. Before I was diagnosed with GCA [problems at the time were thought to be a viral infection] my right eye lid drooped and I had blurred vision. The visible symptoms were such that my wife thought I had had a stroke and called the ambulance service. That was back in the Autumn of 2012. The problem with my right eyelid and eye plus blurred vision from time to time was frequent back then and continued to be so until last year. I now have noe eyelid problems but just very occasionally I get blurred vision especially in the right eye. A little palm of hand massage over my eye does relieve this for a short while. My optician has advised an eye massage a couple of times a day. It seems to have helped.

    I hope there is something in these details that will be of help to you?

  • Richard 2012,

    Thank you for your comments and concern. The neurologist that I am seeing has diagnosed my eyelid drooping and blurred vision as ocular myasthenia gravis. This is quite a rare autoimmune disorder which affects the eyelids and sometimes blurred or double vision. I do use warm compresses over my eyes at times which seems to help. I will try some gentle eye massage.

    I hope you continue to find the answers to your medical issues. Take care.

  • Thank you PMR Pro for the detailed advice you have given me. That is something upon which I can do a bit of research. I had an appointment with the Consultant yesterday and his advice differs from that I received from another Consultant some six months ago. Back then 'seizure' was the suspected cause of my symptoms. My GP referred me back to the hospital because of the two 'seizures' around Christmas time. He asked me to refrain from driving until I had seen the Consultant. However, the advice now is that I am not suffering from 'seizures' but something he will write about to my GP. I am now approved for driving again. I am a bit confused and await the further medical advice.

    I will write again if matters become clearer. Many thanks for your help.

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