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All You Should Know About Thyroid Eye Disease

February 8, 2023

Thyroid eye disease: what is it?

Thyroid eye disease is an autoimmune disorder that develops because your body’s protective immune system attacks it, and as a result, there is inflammation and damage to the tissues around the eye, including the fatty tissue, muscles, and connective tissue. People with normal levels of thyroid hormones can also suffer from Thyroid eye disease or TED.

Thyroid eye disease: what causes it?

Your immune system is crucial in protecting your body from external germs and infections that can make you sick. Your body starts attacking your own cells and tissues in and around your eyes when it starts believing that these tissues are foreign elements, and as a result, your eyes swell and bulge out

Thyroid eye disease: what are its signs and symptoms?

Usually the Thyroid eye disease symptoms affect both eyes; however, this can sometimes be noticed in only one eye. If you experience any of the following symptoms, consult your eye specialist and inquire whether TED may be the cause:

  • Dry eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Intolerance of bright lights
  • Bulging eyes, also called proptosis
  • Double vision, also called diplopia
  • A feeling of grittiness in the eyes
  • Difficulty moving the eyes
  • Difficulty closing your eyes completely
  • Pain behind your eyes and pain with eye movements

Thyroid eye disease: is it contagious?

No, TED isn’t contagious, which means neither you can transmit it to anyone nor you can catch it from someone.

Thyroid eye disease: can it be prevented?

If you experience any symptoms suggestive of Thyroid eye disease, you should seek immediate medical attention, as unfortunately, the thyroid eye disease cannot be prevented and can affect anyone at any age. Your eye specialist may prescribe steroids and other medications to relieve your symptoms and reduce eye swelling.

Thyroid eye disease: what tests will be done to diagnose it?

Your eye specialist will be able to diagnose TED by doing a physical eye examination, during which they will check both your eyes and eyelids.

They might also request blood tests to determine whether your thyroid hormone levels and antibodies are too high or too low if they suspect you have TED.

Additional examinations your eye specialist could request include the following:

  • An eye ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging

Thyroid eye disease: how is it treated?

If you have thyroid disease, your doctor will start by treating it. Your healthcare provider may suggest one or more of the following treatments because just treating the thyroid issue does not treat thyroid eye disease:

Treat TED with over-the-counter medications:

Generally, non-prescription eye drops are used to treat dryness and irritation. If you have low levels of selenium in your blood, your doctor might also advise taking the supplements.

Treat TED with prescription medications:

Your doctor may prescribe you some anti-inflammatory medications, but you must discuss the side effects of these treatments before starting.

  • Treat TED with lifestyle changes and some home remedies:
  • Quit smoking
  • Wearing sunglasses
  • Using cool compresses
  • Taping your eyelids shut when you sleep
  • Maintain your thyroid hormone level
  • Using a patch on one eye to reduce double vision
  • Keeping your head higher than your body when you lie down
  • Treat TED with surgery
  • Eyelid surgery: This surgery makes it easier to keep your cornea covered.
  • Eye muscle surgery: This surgery can correct your double vision by aligning your eye muscles.
  • Orbital decompression surgery: This surgery enlarges the eye socket or removes extra tissue to relieve strain on the optic nerve hence preventing visual loss.
  • Treat TED with Radiation:

Radiation therapy could be suggested by your healthcare provider to treat the inflammation of TED.


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