01 | Introduction
Thyroid Eye Disease is a problem that develops in some patients with an overactive thyroid caused by Graves’ Disease. Up to one-half of people with Graves’ Disease develop eye symptoms. Please use this guide to understand the cause, symptoms and treatment of Thyroid Eye Disease.
02 | Cause
Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune condition caused by antibodies directed against receptors present in the thyroid gland, as well as the surface of the cells behind the eyes. The activity of the antibodies results in hyperthyroidism and may include Thyroid Eye Disease.
03 | Symptoms
In most cases, eye symptoms will manifest within six months of the onset of Graves’ Disease. Symptoms include:
Feeling of irritation or grittiness in the eyes
Inflammation/redness of the conjunctiva
Swelling of the eyelids
Excessive tearing or dry eyes
Sensitivity to light
Bulging of the eyes (proptosis)
In more advanced cases, the patient may display decreased eye movement, incomplete closure of the eye, corneal ulceration, compression of the optic nerve and in rare cases loss of vision.
04 | Treatment
There is no cure for Graves’ Disease or Thyroid Eye Disease and treatment is targeted toward relief of symptoms.
Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from the sun and wind
Use lubricating eye drops
Injections to reduce proptosis (eye protrusion)
Eye muscle surgery
Orbital decompression surgery
For more information on diabetes and supportive resources please visit www.diabetes.org.