Thyroid Eye Disease: Signs, Symptoms, Prognosis, and Treatment

An autoimmune condition occurs when the body begins to attack its own tissues. When thyroid eye disease occurs, inflammation is triggered in the eye socket, which can create a bug-eyed effect due to the retraction of the eyelid.

What Are The Symptoms Of Thyroid Eye Disease?

In addition to a bug-eyed look due to swelling around the eyes, thyroid eye disease can present in many ways, including:

  • Eyelid swelling
  • Distorted or blurred vision due
  • Double vision due to problems with the muscles that move the eyes
  • Problems with the optic nerve that may result in vision loss

Thyroid Eye Disease Vision Prognosis

For many people, thyroid disease changes with time. You may experience active and passive phases of the disease. Vision changes related to thyroid disease may become permanent, especially if not treated properly.

While the inflammation surrounding the eyes may subside, the changed appearance of the tissue around your eyes may not change.

Thyroid Eye Disease Treatment

While there are medical treatments available for thyroid eye disease, there are also self-care techniques that can be used at home to lessen the effects of the disease.

The earlier you receive treatment for thyroid disease, the more effective treatment is likely to be for your eyes. If you’re experiencing symptoms of thyroid problems or unbalanced hormone levels, it’s important that you work closely with your doctor, eye doctor, and your endocrinologist to ensure that you receive proper treatment.

If your hormone levels are too high, your doctor may choose to treat your thyroid eye disease with surgery, radiation, or medication. If your hormone levels are too low, your doctor may choose to treat your disease with hormone replacement therapy.

In addition to medical treatments for thyroid eye disease, your doctor will also recommend that you avoid all tobacco products. Avoiding smoke (including second-hand smoke from others) is one of the most important parts of preserving your vision when you’re dealing with thyroid issues.

While you’re going through treatment for thyroid eye disease, your doctor may recommend that you use eye drops to keep your eyes comfortable. You may also need to run a humidifier in your home to keep the air moist. If the swelling around your eyes fails to allow you to close your eyes completely at night, you may need to tape your eyes shut at night.

No matter the severity of your thyroid eye disease or your symptoms, it’s key to work closely with your primary care doctor, your endocrinologist, and your eye doctor to ensure you’re doing all you can to preserve your vision.