Vision problems in patient with Lyme disease and giant cell arteritis


Acute vision loss presents as a common clinical manifestation with diverse underlying causes, including demyelinating diseases, neoplastic processes, autoimmune disorders, and infectious conditions, explains Wan et al.

In their article “Through the Eyes of Uncertainty: Giant Cell Arteritis and Lyme Neuroborreliosis in a Story of Vision Loss,” Wan and colleagues describe a unique case in which an elderly woman, who tested positive for both giant cell arteritis and Lyme disease, developed vision problems including an abrupt loss of vision.¹

An acute loss of vision and other vision problems can be caused by a variety of medical conditions including an autoimmune disorder known as giant cell arteritis (GCA). This is a type of vasculitis whereby certain arteries, particularly those near the temples, become inflamed. It’s a relatively common condition which may cause jaw claudication (pain or fatigue while chewing), headaches, and visual disturbances.

Meanwhile, Lyme disease is one of several infections that can cause vision problems including a sudden loss of vision.

“Although relatively rare, Lyme disease can also lead to optic neuritis, an optic nerve inflammation resulting in eye pain and blurry vision,” the authors point out.

Vision problems due to Lyme disease?

In their case report, the authors describe an 80-year-old woman who was admitted to the emergency department with an abrupt onset of blurry vision of the left eye, right-sided weakness, dysarthria, jaw pain, headache, and left facial droop.

A temporal artery biopsy was performed and confirmed the diagnosis of giant cell arteritis. The patient was treated with high dose corticosteroids which improved her unilateral vision loss but only slightly.

Since the woman lived in a Lyme endemic region, clinicians ordered testing for Lyme disease, which was positive.

“Surprisingly, the Lyme IgG returned positive in five bands on the Western blot, suggesting a diagnosis of Lyme neuroborreliosis,” the authors state.

The patient was treated for Lyme disease with IV ceftriaxone, followed by oral doxycycline.

“Upon discharge, the patient’s vision in the left eye remained reduced but was improving and stable,” states Wan et al.

“Acute vision loss can be a rare manifestation of Lyme disease.”

The authors suggest, “It is less likely that the patient’s ocular symptoms were attributable to Lyme neuroborreliosis, particularly considering the improvement observed after a high dose of steroids. However, the possibility cannot be entirely ruled out…”

Authors Conclude:

“Healthcare providers in a Lyme endemic area must include Lyme disease in their list of differential diagnoses when assessing patients with acute vision loss/disturbance, as there exists a risk of it being either undiagnosed or overshadowed by other presenting illnesses with analogous symptoms, such as [giant cell arteritis] GCA.”


  1. Wan L, Yan A, Reese E, et al. (February 05, 2024) Through the Eyes of Uncertainty: Giant Cell Arteritis and Lyme Neuroborreliosis in a Story of Vision Loss. Cureus 16(2): e53623. doi:10.7759/cureus.53623

4 Replies to "Vision problems in patient with Lyme disease and giant cell arteritis"

  • Angela Jenkins
    02/15/2024 (7:38 pm)

    My name is Angela and I was bitten by a tick thank Jehovah it didn’t bite my daughter but later I found out I had ten co infections that I have to fight and kill with a beautiful doctor named Jack Miller out of Scottsdale Arizona with ozone sauna and other herbs if not I wouldn’t be here killing all of the infections but leaving the babesiosis and this one has been terribly bad cuz it has gave me a necessary surgeries and out here in Las Vegas they won’t even recommend you get an IV so I’ve been still searching for treatment hope and I can receive an IV before my nervous system shuts down and it spreads to my brain or I’m in ICU I’ve been very sick for over 5 years and I haven’t received any treatment that can calm this infection down or stop all the inflammation in my veins and when I have the last surgery 7 webs have grew in my veins so it’s been it’s really working to destroy me without proper help my test did come back positive but by the time my doctor Tamara Beasley put the codes in she put the clothes in wrong and it took 6 months and they had to retest me and due to the fact that it was tested negative I was denied my IVs that I would need for one year cuz it’s that bad but I was charged a lot of money for Ivory treatment in her office and for Lyme disease which he never would agree that I had I’m hurt because I’m young and just figured from my legs due to nine meds or negligent of a doctor that I did get a positive test for but refuse to treat me here in Las Vegas they don’t believe that lyme disease is real sad but a lot of people are going to be sick or maybe die due to negligent of doctors that do nothing but charge your Medicaid and send you on your way

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      02/16/2024 (8:53 am)

      You did not mention whether your doctors included an antibiotic treatment option for Lyme and tick-borne co-infections

  • Sydney Hampton
    02/12/2024 (3:27 pm)

    Hi Dr Cameron,
    One of my first symptoms was loss of vision. One day I was totally in black out. Praise the Lord I didn’t stay in the state of blindness. My vision was 20/20. It has decreased much over the last 15 years. My glasses are so heavy that they leave a constant imprint on my nose. Near vision is almost lost presently. My temples are sinking, my jaws have hurt so bad the dentist pulled all my teeth and gave me denture, a year before my Lyme/Babesia diagnosis. I still have the jaw pain and my jaw bones are all but gone. It’s absolutely terrible to live this way. Bone goes so fast I’m on my 7th or maybe 8th pair of dentures since 2006

  • Colleen Schake
    02/12/2024 (8:12 am)

    I too have experienced vision loss 2xs and nothing was found. One eye turned white film looking. By that I mean it felt and looked like there was a white substance covering my eye. It was like looking through sheer white curtain.

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