Several eye doctors were asked about Thyroid eye disease, and it was astounding to find that many people struggle with this condition. Thyroid eye disease is the most common orbital disease in the Americas and Europe according to the International Thyroid Eye Disease Society. It is associated with Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, both of which are the most common causes of hyperthyroidism. These are autoimmune disorders in which antibodies directed against the thyroid gland can also attack the eye to have a negative impact on eye health and vision. The board-certified optometrists at our family eye care center in Wellington, FL, have provided an overview to help you understand the importance of eye care when you have a thyroid condition.
An Overview of Thyroid Eye Disease and Eye Care
- Who can get it: Thyroid eye disease can occur at any age (average onset is 45 years) and there are three times as many women as men affected by it. Typically caused by Graves’ disease, it can also occur in patients who are hypothyroid, euthyroid or have thyroid cancer. Heavy smokers are also at risk for contracting thyroid eye disease.
- What happens: Inflammation and swelling in the muscles and fatty tissue surrounding the eye pushes the eyeball forward causing protrusion of one or both eyes. Protrusion compresses the optic nerve which affects eye movement and can also potentially result in blurred vision, impaired color vision and even permanent vision loss.
- Symptoms: Redness, dryness, itching, a gritty feeling in your eyes, eyelid swelling, and the inability to wear contact lenses could be signs of thyroid eye disease. In more advanced cases the immune system can attack the eyes and muscles around them leading to double vision, inflammation and scarring.
- Treatment: It is important to evaluate and treat any eye problems at the same time as an overactive thyroid gland. Treatment typically focuses on limiting swelling and inflammation to protect the surface of your eyes and to prevent vision-threatening complications. In some cases, eye problems may continue even when the thyroid gland has returned to normal. Therefore, regular eye examinations are critical.
Thyroid Eye Problems – Schedule an Eye Exam Today!
Bulging eyes, double vision, difficulty moving your eyes, and mild sensitivity to light, are all symptoms of thyroid eye disease. However, only a detailed eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist can detect and appropriately diagnose thyroid eye disease. At SeaView Eyecare, we check your peripheral and color vision and we evaluate eye muscle function. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, our office will coordinate care with your endocrinologist. Patients with thyroid eye disease are monitored regularly in our office to protect the health of the front surface of the eye, to monitor the health of the optic nerve, and to maintain clear, comfortable vision.
Call SeaView Eyecare at 561-790-7290 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at our family eye care center in Wellington, FL.