erything You Need To Know About Thyroid Eye Disease

Thyroid eye disease, or sometimes referred to as Graves’ ophthalmopathy or Graves’ orbitopathy, is an autoimmune eye disorder that is often associated with an overactive thyroid gland. In autoimmune conditions, an unknown trigger causes the immune system to wrongly target and attack the body’s own tissues. In the case of thyroid eye disease, this results in inflammation and damage to the tissues around the eyes, specifically the muscles that allow for movement of the eyes as well as the orbital fat that surrounds the eye in the bony sockets or orbits.


Who does thyroid eye disease affect?

Individuals with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition that causes the thyroid gland to produce excess thyroid hormones, are more likely to develop thyroid eye illness. However, thyroid eye disease can also be seen in individuals who do not have any thyroid problems at all or who have other thyroid abnormalities. It usually affects adults between the ages of 30 and 50 and is more prevalent in women than in men.


Signs and symptoms

Thyroid eye disease can range greatly in severity. While some people may only have minor symptoms that have little effect on their quality of life, others may have severe symptoms that require urgent treatment.

Some of the most common symptoms of the condition include:

  • Bulging eyes: Bulging eyes is probably the most common symptom of thyroid eye disease. This happens when the tissues behind the eyes become inflamed, pushing the eyeballs forward. Dry eyes and an inability to close the eyes fully might result from this.
  • Double vision: Diplopia, or double vision, is a typical sign of thyroid eye disease. Eye alignment issues result from an inflammation of the muscles that govern eye movement. Images may look doubled, making it challenging to concentrate on specific items.
  • Sensitivity to light: Thyroid eye disease patients might have photophobia, often known as light sensitivity. This happens when the upper and lower eyelid tissues become tighter and retracted ie they sit further apart. This allows more light into the eyes and causes symptoms of glare and light sensitivity. It also contributes, together with the eye bulging, to a staring appearance, that is often interpreted mistakenly for a state of anxiety.
  • Eyelid swelling or puffiness: In early stages of the disease, patients may experience subtle swelling and redness of the eyelids and the eyes. As the disease progresses, the eyelid tissues do swell more and in the later stages, become retracted as well.

These symptoms can affect one or both eyes. In extreme cases, the condition may cause vision loss due to compression of the optic nerve at the back of the eye sockets or orbits where the surrounding space is tighter.


Diagnosing thyroid eye disease

A thorough review of medical history and a comprehensive physical examination are essential in diagnosing thyroid eye disease. CT scans of the orbits are helpful in managing the more severe cases.


Treatment for thyroid eye disease

Treatment must be overseen by an oculoplastic doctor trained in managing thyroid eye disease. It will depend much on which stage the disease is at and the severity of the condition. Generally speaking, immunosuppression with or without radiotherapy can be considered for active thyroid eye disease while surgery can be considered for those whose disease has entered the inactive stage. However, it is worth noting that surgery during the active period is occasionally performed in emergency circumstances when optic nerve compression is seen and does not respond to immunosuppressive therapy or radiotherapy.


Thyroid eye disease management with Ava Eye Clinic

To conclude, thyroid eye disease is a complex illness with potentially sight-threatening elements. However, with the right diagnosis and specialised care, a patient’s symptoms and quality of life can improve significantly.

Ava Eye Clinic offers comprehensive eye care services, including the identification and management of thyroid eye disease. We are committed to assisting individuals with thyroid eye disease in managing their condition and obtaining the best results.

Besides thyroid eye disease management, we also offer a broad spectrum of treatments, such as droopy eyelid correction, cataract treatment in Singapore and more.

Contact us today for more information.