Thyroid Eye Disease
Thyroid eye disease (TED) is an autoimmune disease caused by the activation of orbital fibroblasts by autoantibodies directed against thyroid receptors. In other words, TED is an immune system disorder developed when the thyroid gland is overactive or underactive.
It’s also known by a few other names such as thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO), Graves Orbitopathy (GO), etc. People with this condition have a damaged immune system causing inflammation, which puffs up the muscles and tissue surrounding your eyes.
Symptoms of Thyroid Eye Disease:
TED is characterized by many symptoms, some are mild and some severe. Below is a list of common symptoms of TED:
- Eyes starting to feel dry and gritty
- Swelling that pushes your eyes forward
- Double vision or blurred vision
- Redness around the eyes and lids
- Sensitivity to bright light
- Difficulty in moving eyes
- Discomfort and pain in the eye sockets
A quarter of patients develop TED before, during, or after being diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. The majority of the time, the eye disease is minor. If you don’t smoke, your chances of getting a TED are less than one in ten. However, if you smoke, your chances of acquiring TED are doubled.
Thyroid Eye Disease Treatment
Thyroid eye disease is a self-limiting disorder 一 which means that the inflammation will resolve on its own if left untreated, but the physical changes caused by swelling must be monitored and treated.
Midler symptoms are typically treated with artificial tears and lubricants. Other treatments commonly used at a more advanced and severe stage of the illness include immunosuppressive medications such as steroids to suppress the immune system and rehabilitative surgery to aid with vision damage and reverse the physical changes triggered by inflammation. At times, thyroid eye disease diagnosis can be difficult to make. People may mistake it for allergy symptoms and dismiss it. Hence, as a precaution, it is essential to get frequent eye exams and to keep your doctor aware of any changes in your symptoms.