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Thyroid Eye Disease

What is Thyroid Eye Disease?


Thyroid eye disease is a condition where you develop inflammation of the tissues surrounding the eye. This inflammation or swelling could affect the muscle that opens the eyelid leading to eyelid retraction. The muscles that move the eye in different directions or the orbital fat can also become inflamed causing the eyes to bulge forward (proptosis) or lead to double vision (diplopia). Thyroid eye disease is often due to Graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism but can also occur less commonly in hypothyroidism or even someone with normal thyroid function. Thyroid eye disease can lead to significant changes in one’s appearance that can be quite distressing to the individual. 


Treatment of thyroid eye disease varies and depends on severity of the condition and goals for the patient. Some patients only have mild forms of thyroid eye disease and overall are not too bothered by their symptoms. For these patients, lubricating eye drops may suffice. Other patients may have more significant signs and symptoms of thyroid eye disease where steroids may be warranted. There has fortunately been recent advances in treatment of thyroid eye disease with the development of the medication Teprotumumab. This medication has shown to help reduce the prominence of the eyes, swelling of the eyelid, and overall inflammation due to thyroid eye disease.

On occasion, some patients may require surgery to reposition the eye deeper in the eye socket known as orbital decompression surgery. Others may need surgery to reposition the eye muscles to help with any double vision. Finally, certain patients may need lid retraction surgery to help improve eyelid closure.