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Thyroid Eye Disease

A constellation of symptoms indicate a deeper issue.

Thyroid Eye Disease, also known as Graves’ Eye Disease or Graves’ Orbitopathy, is an autoimmune condition that causes many uncomfortable symptoms, including protruding eyeballs and double vision. This condition often results from untreated or under-treated hyperthyroidism, though individuals with low or normal thyroid levels may also develop the condition.

Thyroid Eye Disease usually affects both eyes and can be diagnosed before, at the time of diagnosis of Graves’ disease, or at any point after the initial diagnosis.

Symptoms of Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) can include:

  • Eye irritation
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Dry eyes or watery eyes
  • Bulging of the eyes
  • Double vision
  • Inflammation of redness of the white part of the eye (conjunctiva)
  • Light sensitivity
  • Inability to fully close or move the eyes
  • Unexplained vision loss

Patients with TED may experience all, some, or none of these symptoms at any given time.

How is Thyroid Eye Disease diagnosed?

Most people diagnosed with Thyroid Eye Disease will experience symptoms that they share with their eye doctor during a routine eye exam. These symptoms give your doctor clues to determine whether you are suffering from TED or another condition. Your doctor will perform a series of tests during your eye exam to confirm the diagnosis before developing a treatment plan for your specific needs.

How is TED treated?

The best way to treat thyroid eye disease is to control the root cause of its symptoms. Your eye doctor may recommend that you see another specialist, such as an endocrinologist, as part of your treatment plan.

Since TED primarily affects the eyes and the tissue around the eyes, your eye doctor might recommend some non-invasive treatments to help manage the symptoms of this disease, including:

  • Using cool compresses on your eyes
  • Wearing sunglasses to help with light sensitivity
  • Wearing glasses with prism to reduce double vision
  • Using an eye patch to reduce double vision
  • Implementing lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation

When should I see a doctor for my issue?

If you are at heightened risk for TED, or if you develop TED symptoms, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. There is no substitute for the careful evaluation of your eye care provider. Home remedies may help lessen symptom severity short-term, but long-term management of TED requires doctor supervision.

Schedule an appointment at Spectrum Optical to find relief from the symptoms of Thyroid Eye Disease.