Thyroid Disease Can Affect Your Eyesight
Abnormalities of the thyroid gland, which is located just below the voice box in the neck, can result in an over- or under-production of thyroid hormone. This hormone regulates your bodys metabolism and energy use. If the thyroid gland stops producing enough hormone to keep the energy levels of the body going, that individual usually feels excessively tired, needs more sleep and often puts on weight since the body doesnt burn enough calories. The thyroid gland also enlarges in an attempt to produce more hormone this is called a goiter. If the gland becomes inflamed, it often overproduces thyroid hormone which causes the affected individual to need a lot less sleep, be very energetic and lose weight due to the extra burning of calories from this increased activity level. This condition of an overactive, inflamed thyroid gland is called Graves disease.
Once the condition burns out, most individuals return to a normal appearance or may have only mild residual changes that cause no further problems. A variety of reconstructive procedures that can restore a more normal eye appearance can be performed by eye surgeons who specialize in eye plastic and reconstructive surgery. Persistent double vision can be corrected by loosening tight eye muscles and giving a greater range of motion. Communicate with your doctor as soon as you have any eye problems. Early diagnosis of thyroid-related eye problems allows for easier correction and control.
Effect Of Thyroid Eye Disease On Quality Of Life And Mental Health
Patient QOL was markedly impaired by TED at the time of survey, as indicated by an overall GO-QOL score of 60.5±21.8, an appearance sub-score of 62.3±25.1, and a visual function sub-score of 58.6±24.0. Of note, 70% of patients had an overall GO-QOL score< 75, and 33% of patients had an overall score of50. Additionally, 42% of patients reported having anxiety and/or depression , more than double the prevalence of mental health issues in the general US adult population . Further, patients sought medical care often for their TED, with an average of 19.7±31.7 TED-related doctor visits/patient reported in the year prior to survey. Endocrinologists and ophthalmologists were most often seen, followed by optometrists and primary care physicians. Fourteen percent of patients reported being disabled/unemployed at the time of survey.
Factors that Influenced Quality of Life
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What Causes Graves Eye Disease
Sometimes Graves disease makes the immune system attack the muscles and other tissues around the eyes. This causes swelling behind the eye sockets, which makes the eyes bulge out.
Researchers arent sure what causes Graves disease. They think people with certain genes may be more likely to get it. Viruses or something else in the environment may act as a trigger that makes the disease develop in people who have these genes.
Graves disease isnt contagious you cant get it from or give it to other people.
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Eye Pain And Pressure
Thyroid eye disease is an autoimmune condition most commonly associated with hyperthyroidism/Graves disease, but it can occur in people with hypothyroidism or normally functioning thyroids as well. Thyroid eye disease can causestaring or bulging eyes, dry eyes, watery eyes, red eyes, sensitivity to light, blurred or double vision, pain in or behind the eye, swelling in the upper eyelids, or difficulty moving or closing the eye.
Pressure around eyes and sinuses. Alan B.
So much pressure behind the eye sockets with Graves. After a day on my computer at work, Id drive home feeling like I had ground glass in my eyes. Susan W.
Terrible acne from hormones not being right starting with thyroid. Eye pain pressure and light sensitivity. Stephanie L.
How To Reduce Under Eye Dark Circles
The simplest, quickest way to reduce under eye bags and dark circles is to apply a cold compress. It helps to reduce swelling and shrinks the dilated blood vessels around the eyes, minimising the appearance of under eye circles. Another common solution is simply just to get more sleep. Weve written previously about the benefits of sleeping for your eye health, and this extends to reducing the appearance of puffy, tired eyes.
For some people, however, cold compresses and an extra hour in bed wont make much difference to their under eye dark circles. Some people, particularly those whose eye sockets are deeper than usual, might benefit from tissue fillers. This pads out the area below the eye and leaves the skin looking less sunken, achieving a more lifted appearance.
Another popular surgical procedure to remove eye bags is cosmetic eye surgery. Also known as Blepharoplasty, its a procedure we offer here at Optimax. Excess skin, fat and muscle are carefully removed from both the upper and lower eyelids, eliminating the previously hooded and puffy appearance of them. With a simple procedure and relatively quick recovery time, cosmetic eye surgery is growing in popularity all the time. Please get in touch, either by emailing or calling 0800 093 1110 if youd like to learn more about cosmetic eye surgery at Optimax.
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How To Manage Your Eye Health
Scheduling annual eye exams to monitor your vision is always recommended, regardless of your thyroid. While you may experience things like blurry or double vision with hyperthyroidism, it is essential to check with your ophthalmologist to find the root cause of any vision issues you may have. If you find yourself squinting or getting chronic headaches, you could very easily need a new prescription. Addressing your vision troubles is nothing to stress about, though. Buying prescription glasses and frames online can be done in minutes. Like many other parts of your body, your eyes can change over time, and without corrective surgery, a stronger prescription will be necessary.
Overview Of The Connection Between Thyroid And Eyes
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck. As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your body’s energy use, along with many other important functions. When thyroid hormone levels are unbalanced, body processes change, affecting virtually every system in the body.
Researchers don’t quite understand why thyroid disease can affect your eyes. However, since there are thyroid hormone receptors all over our bodies, it stands to reason that thyroid diseases can affect every organ system.
Common eye complaints in hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. Signs and symptoms vary from person to person but commonly include irritability, sleeping problems, muscle weakness, fast heartbeat, heat intolerance, tremors, or weight loss. Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition, causes more than half of the cases of hyperthyroidism in the United States.
People with hyperthyroidism can have a variety of concerning eye symptoms, including:
One of the hallmark signs of Graves’ ophthalmopathy is bulging eyes. Not everyone with Graves’ disease will develop this symptom . Still, vision changes can be hard to restore even with treatment.
Common eye complaints in hypothyroidism
Common eye complaints in people with Hashimoto’s include:
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A Note From Paloma Health
Our team of doctors and nutritionists want you to feel your absolute best. Your thyroid plays a role in every system in your body, including your eyes. However, many other medical conditions may cause dry eyes and blurry vision. If you have trouble with your eyes, reach out to your endocrinologist to make sure your thyroid is in check.
Double Vision Causes: Thyroid Disease Stroke And Ms
Double vision can be caused by thyroid disease, stroke or multiple sclerosis . Double vision is when a single object appears blurred or doubled. Double vision can be temporary or it can occur all the time. Double vision can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal.
There are three types of diplopia: binocular double vision, monocular double vision and physiological double vision. Binocular double vision is when both eyes do not work properly, but if the patient covers one eye, their vision returns to normal.
Monocular double vision is when a patient covers the unaffected eye and the vision remains doubled. Only one eye produces the double vision, so when the affected eye is covered vision appears normal.
Lastly, physiological double vision is when objects that a person is not focusing on appear double. This type of double vision can go unnoticed because the brain compensates for the double vision in the background. This type of double vision is most commonly seen in children.
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What Causes Thyroid Eye Disease
TED is usually associated with systemic hyperthyroidism or Graves disease. This disease is caused by what is described as an autoimmune process. Autoimmune disease may be understood as a process by which the body sees some part of itself as being foreign and reacts to it much the same way that it would to any bacteria or virus.
In the case of Graves disease, the body sees the thyroid gland as the foreign object and produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. This often causes the thyroid gland to become over active.
The eye version of this disease is called Thyroid Eye Disease. However, in the case of TED, different antibodies attack the muscles associated with eye and eyelid movement. Although the thyroid gland and the eye may be under attack by the same immune system, it is felt that both conditions remain mostly independent of one another. The antibodies that attack the eye can cause inflammation and swelling of the fat and muscles around the eye, which is what can eventually cause bulging of the eyes, double vision and retraction of the eyelids.
Will my eyes go back to normal after treatment?
Other Types Of Treatment
If you develop double vision , you may be referred to a specialist health professional who manages problems with eye muscles . They may give you modified glasses that block off vision from one eye or put a special cover, called a prism, over one side to stop the diplopia.
Treatment using radiation may be used in some places on some people. The aim is to reduce the swelling in the eye. It is used alongside other forms of treatment.
A number of new treatments are being investigated.
Your doctors will also treat any abnormality of thyroid function with antithyroid medicines. This is usually with tablets but may also include radioactive iodine or, uncommonly, surgery to the thyroid gland. We know that good control of the thyroid function helps lessen the severity of thyroid eye disease. See the separate leaflet called Antithyroid Medicines.
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What Is Graves’ Eye Disease Or Thyroid Eye Disease
Graves’ eye disease, also known as thyroid eye disease, is an autoimmune condition in which immune cells attack the thyroid gland which responds by secreting an excess amount of thyroid hormone. As a result, the thyroid gland enlarges and excess hormones increase metabolism. The hypermetabolic state is characterized by fast pulse/heartbeat, palpitations, profuse sweating, high blood pressure, irritability, fatigue, weight loss, heat intolerance, and loss of hair and alterations in hair quality. When the immune system attacks the tissues around the eyes, it causes the eye muscles or fat to expand.
The eyes are particularly vulnerable to Graves’ eye disease, because the autoimmune attack often targets the eye muscles and connective tissue within the eye socket. This likely occurs because these tissues contain proteins that appear similar to the immune system as those of the thyroid gland. Ocular symptoms can range from mild to severe but only 10-20% of patients have sight threatening disease. Another tissue that can also be involved in the immune attack of Graves’ eye disease is the skin of the shins.
How Can The Thyroid Gland Affect The Eyes
Thyroid disorders, either with elevated hormone level or a depressed hormone level , can affect the eyes. Statistically an under active thyroid gland is more common, which may contribute to increase tired, worn-out appearance and wrinkles.
For some thyroid patients, especially with hyperthyroidism, under eye bags are increased. In advanced cases, the eyes may appear to bulge out of their head.
Most plastic surgeons performing eyelid surgery will evaluate for thyroid condition, in conjunction with the patients primary physician, prior to any facial cosmetic surgery. It is very difficult to determine, however, how much of ones appearance is specifically due to thyroid condition vs. normal aging vs. genetics, or other factors.
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Who Develops Thyroid Eye Disease
Thyroid eye disease is a rare condition. Each year it affects about 16 women and 3 men in every 100,000 people. Most of these people also have a problem with an overactive thyroid gland and have an underlying autoimmune condition. Occasionally, thyroid eye disease occurs when the thyroid gland appears to be working normally. However, people with an apparently normal thyroid gland at the time of thyroid eye disease have usually had abnormal thyroid function in the past or they go on to develop abnormal thyroid function in the future.
Thyroid eye disease generally occurs in middle age. Some people carry genes which make it more likely that they will develop thyroid eye disease. It is also more likely to develop if you smoke, particularly if you are a heavy smoker.
What Are The Longer
With the correct treatment, thyroid eye disease can be well managed and patients can live full and active lives. Most of the effects of the thyroid eye disease will settle with time and when thyroid function is stabilised. Patients taking carbimazole tablets to treat hyperthyroidism may need to take them daily for life, although definitive treatment of the overactive thyroid gland with radioiodine or surgery is generally preferred, once the eye disease has settled down. Regular blood tests should be carried out to monitor thyroid hormone levels and the dose of carbimazole adjusted accordingly. However, there are other treatment options such as thyroidectomy or radioiodine treatment that can be considered once the eye disease has settled down.
The changes in the physical appearance of the eyes can have a psychological effect on the individual, causing low self-esteem. The long-term consequences of the disease, even after the thyroid has settled down, may be difficult to accept. Some patients may have a permanent change to their appearance, which may require surgery. Very rarely, there is a permanent loss of vision this can happen if the disease is left untreated at the sight-threatening stage.
Patients should stop smoking as this is known to aggravate the condition. Sunglasses may be necessary even when indoors. If double vision is not corrected, driving will be dangerous. Patients should discuss any concerns with their doctor.
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New Study: Breakthrough Drug Reduces Graves Eye Disease Symptoms
A clinical trial led by the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center offers hope for those with moderate to severe active TED. Patients had a significant reduction in the severity of symptoms after treatment with teprotumumab, a study drug the Food and Drug Administration designated a breakthrough therapy. Learn more about the results of this clinical trial.
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Can Levothyroxine Cause Dry Eye
Levothyroxine is a medication thats often prescribed to treat hypothyroidism. Common side effects include:
- trouble sleeping
Some people also report eye pain, but this is rare.
Dry eye isnt a reported side effect of levothyroxine. However, if you notice dry eye while taking levothyroxine, its a good idea to mention it to your doctor or a healthcare professional.
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How Common Is Thyroid Eye Disease
About one in four patients with Graves disease will have thyroid eye disease. It does not occur with other causes of an overactive thyroid .
Thyroid eye disease is almost five times more common in women than men. However, the disease is often more severe in men. In 90% of people it is associated with an overactive gland, in which case it may be diagnosed before, after, or at the time of diagnosis of Graves disease. In 5% of people it is associated with an underactive thyroid gland and 5% of people affected do not have any thyroid problems. Thyroid eye disease is seven times more likely to occur in smokers.
When To See A Doctor
See your doctor if you have swelling around your eyes that doesnt go away after 24 to 48 hours.
A mild eye infection can go away on its own. Its important to have it checked in case its more serious. An infection can cause complications in your eye if left untreated.
Get immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of an eye infection or other health condition. These include:
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Use Artificial Tear Eye Drops
Symptoms of dry eye can be managed by using eye drops to moisten your eyes and they can usually be used frequently or as much as needed.
Also trying to avoid, or protect your eyes in windy or dusty environments, can help, as these conditions might irritate your eyes this can be done by wearing glasses or protective eyewear.
You may also find that taking regular breaks when doing activities such as reading, watching television, and using computer screens can help keep your eyes feeling more comfortable.
Dry Blurry Eyes And Hypothyroidism
- Thyroid function and eye health
- Common eye symptoms in thyroid dysfunction
- Managing eye health with hypothyroidism
Eye problems are not commonly associated with hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid. However, if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, you may be at higher risk for eye disease. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition that damages the thyroid gland. According to the American Thyroid Association, six-percent of people with Hashimoto’s have eye disease related to their thyroid functioning.
Eye conditions related to the thyroid are more common with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition causing hyperthyroidism than they are with Hashimoto’s. Indeed, one of the hallmark symptoms of Graves’ disease is bulging eyes. While thyroid-associated eye disease may get overlooked in people with Hashimoto’s, studies find that both hyper- and hypothyroid autoimmune processes can cause uncomfortable eye symptoms.
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