Should I be worried about thyroid eye disease?
Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) is an autoimmune disease associated with hyperthyroidism. Should you be worried about TED?
Also known as Graves’ eye disease or thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy, TED can cause drastic changes to the appearance and function of the eyes. If you have a thyroid disorder, or have been diagnosed with Thyroid Eye Disease, it’s important to know the signs and potential complications so that you can seek out treatment when needed.
For people with hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid gland, TED presents with various symptoms such as bulging of the eyes, retraction of the eyelids, redness or swelling in the eye area, double vision or eye dryness. Other symptoms include light sensitivity (especially to bright lights), a dusty or gritty feeling in the eyes and bags under the eyes. If you notice any changes in the appearance of your eyes or in your vision, you should seek medical attention to treat TED.
Thyroid Eye Disease can range in severity, as can its progression. Some people only experience mild symptoms for years, while others may have severe disease that progresses quickly. TED can cause compression of the optic nerve or the cornea can become damaged. Having an overactive thyroid is not a guarantee that you will develop TED, but if you suffer from Graves disease it can put you at an increased risk. TED can threaten your vision permanently, so prompt diagnosis and treatment is critical to preventing further complications.
Treatment for TED requires a tailored approach to your specific symptoms and their severity. Less invasive treatment options include eye drops to lubricate the eyes, protective eyewear to decrease sensitivity or therapy aimed at reducing inflammation. Medication, such as newly approved monoclonal antibiotics, may also be an option. For more severe or advanced cases, surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgical options may include orbital decompression to relieve pressure, eyelid repositioning to better cover and protect the eyes, or strabismus correction to realign the eyes and their muscles. If you have hyperthyroidism and are concerned about Thyroid Eye Disease, it’s best to be proactive in seeking medical assistance to manage this condition. Through early diagnosis, close monitoring under the care of an expert, and personalized treatment, you can mitigate potential complications. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin I. Perman, call (301) 571-0000.