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Do I Have Thyroid Eye Disease?

Published on January 25, 2019

The eye is one of the most precious parts of the human body as it is the only means through which a person can experience the sense of sight. It’s an amazing organ that we’re blessed to have, but it is worth noting that it is susceptible to disease.

Among the many types of diseases that affect the eye is the thyroid eye disease. It is also called Graves’ ophthalmopathy and is an orbitopathy (or inflammation around the region of the eye) commonly associated with the thyroid dysfunction.

The disease is caused by antibodies that have been directed against the receptors which are present in the thyroid cells and in the surface cells that are behind the eyes. In many cases, it can also affect the skin. Thankfully, this disease is considered to be treatable and mild.

Symptoms of Thyroid Eye Disease

Graves’ eye disease shows various symptoms that generally begin within six months of the diagnosis. It is rare that problems may develop at a later date once it has been treated.

The symptoms include a feeling of grittiness or irritation in the eyes, inflammation or redness of the whites of the eyes, dry eyes or excessive tearing, swelling, light sensitivity, displacement or bulging of the eyes, and seeing doubles.

In its advanced stages, the symptoms also include a decrease in eye movement, the inability to move or close the eyelids, ulcers in the cornea, optic nerve compression, and vision loss.

How to Treat Thyroid Eye Disease

If you’re wondering how to treat thyroid eye disease, you’re not alone. There are numerous methods of treatment for Graves’ eye disease. It includes applying a cold compress to the eyes as the extra moisture can provide some relief to the patient.

Doctors recommend that patients also wear sunglasses as the eyes during this time are quite sensitive and require protection from ultraviolet rays, sunlight, wind, and dust. Patients are also asked to use eyedrops to relieve the feeling of scratchy dryness in the eyes.

Before sleeping, it is advised that the patients use lubricating gel as their eyelids may not fully close and the gel would help to keep the eyes from drying out. Doctors also advise that the head of the bed must be kept elevated to reduce swelling and relieve the pressure on the eyes.

Other processes of treatment include the prescription of glasses containing prisms to correct double vision, steroids to improve the swelling of the eyes and surgery.

Surgery is conducted on the eyelids, eye muscle, and the orbital region. Eyelid surgery takes place to reposition the eyelid to help the patient close them and blink, which would prevent further dryness, tearing and irritation.

The surgery of the eye muscles is done to fix the alignment of the eyes, the problem that leads to double vision. During this part of the procedure, the affected muscle is cut and reattached further back so that the patient is able to read and see straight ahead.

Finally, the orbital decompression surgery is conducted when the eyesight itself is threatened. In this, the bone which is present between the sinuses and eye socket is removed so as to give some space to the swollen tissue, giving the eyes some room to return to their normal position.

Contact Our Office

The first step to treating thyroid eye disease is finding a skilled Ophthalmic Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon. By scheduling a consultation with, Dr. Jeffrey Joseph, you can rest easy knowing that the wellbeing of your eyes are his primary concern. He will be with you every step of the way to solve the issues you have with your eyes.

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