Thyroid eye disease, also known as Grave’s eye disease, is a thyroid condition that affects about every 1 in 200 people. This disease affects women more often than men, which may be related to the different hormonal factors.  Grave’s eye disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the US.

What Is Thyroid Eye Disease?

Thyroid eye disease is a condition caused by an overactive thyroid. The thyroid is a butterfly shaped endocrine gland located in the lower front of the neck. Thyroid hormones help the body use energy and keep organs working the way they should.

People who have thyroid eye disease typically have an overactive thyroid due to Grave’s disease.  This can cause major effects throughout the body, and especially in the eyes.

Symptoms of Thyroid Eye Disease

People typically start seeing the symptoms of thyroid eye disease around 6 months after Grave’s disease diagnosis. Sometimes, although very rare, eye problems can develop years after Grave’s disease was treated. The symptoms of thyroid eye disease include:

  • Eye irritation or grittiness
  • Redness or inflammation of the conjunctiva
  • Excessive tearing
  • Dry eyes
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Light sensitivity
  • Bulging eyes (called proptosis)
  • Double vision

Thyroid Eye Disease Treatment

There are some things you can do at home to relieve the symptoms of thyroid eye disease, such as wearing sunglasses when outside and applying cool compresses to soothe any irritation. You may also try lubricating eye drops and keeping you head elevated to reduce swelling.

Treatments such as eyelid surgery, eye muscle surgery and orbital decompression surgery may be necessary.

  • Eyelid surgery helps patients who have difficulty closing their eyelids due to bulging or swelling. Patients who are unable to close their eyelids may experience a great deal of irritation, corneal ulceration and irritation. This surgery helps to reduce those symptoms.
  • Eye muscle surgery is performed to alleviate double vision in patients with thyroid eye disease. Scar tissue from thyroid eye disease can leave one or more eye muscles too short, which pulls your eyes out of alignment, causing double vision.
  • Orbital decompression surgery allows the doctor to remove a bone between the eye socket and the sinuses in order to make room for the swollen tissues. This allows your eyes to return to their normal position.

If you have been diagnosed with Grave’s disease and are worried about thyroid eye disease, be sure to contact us in Annandale, Manassas or Arlington today!