Thyroid Eye Disease is an autoimmune eye condition that, while separate from thyroid disease, is often seen in conjunction with Graves’ Disease. The condition, however, is also seen in people with no other evidence of thyroid dysfunction, and occasionally in patients who have Hashimoto’s Disease. Most thyroid patients will not develop thyroid eye disease, and if so, only mildly so.
Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Eye Disease
- Pain in the eyes, pain when looking up, down or sideways
- Dryness, itching, dry eyes, difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Inflammation and swelling of the eye, and its surrounding tissues
- Swelling in the orbital tissues which causes the eye to be pushed forward — referred to as exophthalmos — which can make Thyroid Eye Disease sufferers appear to have a wide-eyed or bulging stare.
- Bloodshot appearance to eyes
- Double vision (doctors call it diplopia)
- Impaired vision
Thyroid Eye Disease is known to go through varying degrees of severity, and can go into periods of remission, sometimes never to resurface. Treatments for Thyroid Eye Disease range from lubricating eyedrops and ointments to, in very rare cases, surgery. In a very small percentage of patients, orbital decompression may be called for.