What You Need to Know About Thyroid Eye Disease

Certain eye symptoms cause patients to come in to Dr. Tresley’s Northbrook office. They usually don’t know these symptoms are related to thyroid eye disease. Symptoms could include persistent eye dryness, redness, eyelid swelling, and eyelid retraction (eyelids are higher than normal). In some cases, double vision and difficulties in opening or closing the eyes may be present, too.

What exactly is thyroid eye disease?

Thyroid eye disease occurs if there are abnormalities in thyroid gland function. The thyroid gland sits just below the thyroid eye disease Adam’s apple and has various functions. One of its vital functions is the production of hormones that regulate metabolism, body temperature, and reproduction.

Am I at risk?

As women are six times more likely to develop thyroid problems than men, thyroid eye disease is more common in women. Estimates are that thyroid eye disease occurs in roughly 30 percent of people with thyroid problems. Smoking is also linked to an increased incidence of thyroid eye disease.

What are its symptoms?

Thyroid eye disease commonly manifests itself through the following:

  • Eyelid changes – Upper or lower eyelids may be puffy or swollen. Eyelid retraction or the appearance of overly large opening of the eyelids may impair blinking and result in eyelid closure. Excessive dryness may also result in corneal damage.
  • Double Vision – Normally, there are six tiny eye muscles responsible for eye movements. Swelling or thickening of these muscles in thyroid eye disease can lead to vision misalignment and double vision.
  • Bulging of the eyes – Also known as exophthalmos, this is a result of swollen muscles in the eye socket that push the fat or eyeball forward. One or both eyes may be affected.
  • Optic neuropathy – This is the most severe symptom of thyroid eye disease where swelling of the muscles can squeeze the optic nerve (which transmits information to and from the brain) and lead to either temporary or permanent vision loss.

Do you have any of these symptoms? Call 847.291.6900 to set up an appointment. We look forward to your visit!

Posted in: Eye Disease

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