What Is Thyroid Disease
Thyroid disease is a general term for a medical condition that keeps your thyroid from making the right amount of hormones. Your thyroid typically makes hormones that keep your body functioning normally. When the thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone, your body uses energy too quickly. This is called hyperthyroidism. Using energy too quickly will do more than make you tired it can make your heart beat faster, cause you to lose weight without trying and even make you feel nervous. On the flip-side of this, your thyroid can make too little thyroid hormone. This is called hypothyroidism. When you have too little thyroid hormone in your body, it can make you feel tired, you might gain weight and you may even be unable to tolerate cold temperatures.
These two main disorders can be caused by a variety of conditions. They can also be passed down through families .
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.
Who Is At Risk For Thyroid Eye Disease
Thyroid eye disease is most commonly associated with Graves disease. It can also occur with normal thyroid hormone levels or low levels of thyroid hormones .
Other risk factors for thyroid eye disease include:
- Age: Usually affects middle-age adults but can occur at any age
- Gender: Females are affected more than males
- Family history of thyroid eye disease
- Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of thyroid eye disease by 78 times, causes thyroid eye disease to have a longer active phase, and it reduces the effectiveness of treatments
- Radioactive iodine therapy: Radioactive iodine has been used to treat hyperthyroidism and Graves disease. This treatment should be used with caution in people with active thyroid eye disease as it may worsen the condition unless steroids are given at the same time
- Low blood levels of selenium, a dietary mineral.
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Swelling Around The Eyes
People with hypothyroidism may develop swelling around the eyes and in the face. With this condition, mucus-like proteins accumulate in the deep layers of the skin, explains the Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals 14. With treatment of hypothyroidism, the proteins usually dissipate and the swelling around the eyes resolves.
Does Graves Disease Get Worse Over Time
Graves Disease, if not treated, can over time cause heart damage and erratic behavior due to negative effects on the brain. When the thyroid gland is overactive, the bodys processes speed up. This speeding up may cause irritability, muscle weakness, sleeping problems, a fast heartbeat, poor tolerance for heat, diarrhea, unintentional weight loss, nervousness, anxiety, hand tremors, excessive sweating, and hair loss, among other symptoms. Some individuals even experience problems with memory, focus, and depression.
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What Is The Best Treatment For Thyroid Eye Disease
From an ophthalmologists perspective, the primary goal of treatment is to prevent loss of visual function, while at the same time, taking steps to prevent other disfunctions of the eye that can occur. Treatment becomes less effective as the disease progresses from the early, acute phase to the chronic phase. In fact, treatment initiated during the early months of the active phase has been shown to be most effective whereas, treatment that is begun during the late stages of the active phase, has shown to have little effect on the final outcome of disease. Once the chronic stage has set in, treatment options become more limited and is primarily surgical.
About seventy-five percent of patients with thyroid eye disease have mild to moderate symptoms and require primarily symptom management, such as eye lubrication . Sometimes topical cyclosporine is prescribed to reduce symptoms of ocular surface irritation. Lifestyle changes are also helpful, such as smoking cessation, as smoking cessation helps prevent further development of the disease and decreases the duration of the active phase. Sodium restriction to reduce water retention and edema in the eye tissue is beneficial as well as sleeping with the head elevated to decrease orbital edema.
Medical treatments include Oral steroids, ILGF-1 monoclonal antibody infusions , and/or orbital radiation. Talking with your doctor can help to decide if any of any of these treatments are right for you.
How To Get Rid Of Dark Circles Under Your Eyes
Theres nothing inherently wrong with having dark undereye circles. But because they can signal certain health conditions and unhealthy lifestyle factors, its important to make sure you see your doctor regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle to get at the root of your undereye bag problem.
Dark circles or undereye bags due to aging are usually not reversible, says Zoumalan. However, there are treatments available which are solely about aesthetics and dont serve a medical purpose. There is no one-size-fits all solution for managing the appearance of dark circles and under-eye bags, says Zoumalan. Each person is different and requires customized solutions to treat the area, so theres a plethora of ways you can conceal or treat dark undereye circles and bags, from cosmetics to surgery.
Skincare can be a good start, Goldstein says. The easiest treatment is to conceal the dark circles using optical diffusers with minerals such as nitride, mica, silica, silicone powder, talc, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, she says. These compounds can help lighten up your visage and hide the circles. Using creams containing peptides of retinoids, or chemical peels, can also improve collagen and decrease melanin production, which can also help plump up the lower eyelids.
For more severe cases of bags caused by undereye hollowing, injectable fillers using hyaluronic acid products can quickly even out the fatty pads in the under-eye area, Goldstein says.
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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.
Is There Anything I Can Do
Yes. Here are a few tips:
- We know that one thing that makes this disease worse is smoking. If you smoke, see your GP about getting help to stop. Stopping smoking, even if you already have thyroid eye disease, will reduce the severity.
- Sleeping propped up will help reduce the puffiness around the eyes.
- You may find bright light uncomfortable. Sunglasses will help.
- If you are a driver and experience double vision, let the DVLA know. This is a legal requirement. Usually, they will contact your specialist eye doctor for a report. If the double vision is well controlled with prisms, you may be declared fit to drive. Until then you should not drive.
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How Your Overactive Thyroid Can Affect Your Eyes
Your thyroid gland governs your production of thyroid hormone. Overproduction or underproduction of thyroid hormone can affect your metabolism, your mood, and even your eyes. If you have thyroid eye disease, also known as Graves eye disease, overproduction of thyroid hormone in response to an autoimmune attack can ultimately threaten your vision.
Our renowned oculoplastic surgeon, Raymond Douglas, MD, PhD, has the expertise you can trust when it comes to diagnosing and treating the effects of hyperthyroidism on your eyes. Heres what Dr. Douglas wants his new and existing patients to understand about the effects of thyroid hormones on your eyes and vision.
Does Celiac Cause Other Autoimmune Diseases
There is a lot of debate over whether celiac disease causes other autoimmune diseases, but one thing is for sure: celiac patients have a higher risk of developing autoimmune conditions. This is likely because the condition affects the small intestine, which is where grains and other food products go to be absorbed and processed.
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What Type Of Thyroid Problems Are There
The main types of thyroid problems are:
- Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid is overactive and makes too much thyroid hormone. The most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism are feeling anxious or nervous, being unable to tolerate heat, having heart palpitations, feeling tired and losing weight, even if youre eating the same amount of food. Hyperthyroidism is sometimes called thyrotoxicosis.
- Hypothyroidism this is when the thyroid is underactive and does not make enough thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism can go on for years without showing any signs. When symptoms do appear, they can be quite varied and can include fatigue, being unable to tolerate the cold, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, poor memory and depression.
- Thyroid cancer this is when some of the thyroid cells become cancerous. Thyroid cancer is more common in women than in men and is usually diagnosed in peoples fifties. It can usually be treated successfully.
Other thyroid problems include nodules that grow in the thyroid, an inflamed thyroid, and an enlarged thyroid . These conditions may lead to either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Because the thyroid gland plays an important role in controlling many of the bodys functions, serious health problems can result when it is not functioning as it should. If you think you may have a thyroid problem, its important to see your doctor.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Graves’ Eye Disease
In Graves eye disease the tissue around the eye is attacked, and the result is inflammation and swelling, causing:
- Redness and pain
- Dry eye and irritation, occurring when the eyelids cannot close completely over bulging eyes
Progressive swelling may cause:
- Increased pressure inside the eye socket
- Pressure-pain or deep headache, which worsens with eye movements
The muscles around the eye are particularly susceptible to the attack of lymphocytes. As they tighten and lose their ability to stretch, these symptoms can occur:
- The eye is pushed forward in its socket causing a staring appearance
- Restriction of the eyes normal movements, resulting in double vision
As symptoms build, many patients fear they will lose their vision. Fortunately, patients almost never go blind from Graves eye disease.
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Tip : Consider A Selenium Supplement
Selenium is a trace mineral your body requires to activate thyroid hormone. Studies have linked low selenium levels with increased risks for chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, Graves disease, and goiter.
You can increase your selenium levels by increasing your intake of meat, seafood, or whole grains. But some people may require a supplement to enhance selenium levels. Talk with your doctor about what may help.
Consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor if you experience the following symptoms as they could be related to your thyroid:
- feeling a nodule or lump on either side of your larynx
- experiencing weight loss or gain that you cant explain by changes in diet or activity level
- constantly feeling very hot or very cold
- experiencing mood changes, such as depression, anxiety, or nervousness
- feeling a sense of significant fatigue
These symptoms can all indicate a potential thyroid concern and warrant a trip to your doctor.
There are two thyroid-related conditions that can be medical emergencies: myxedema coma and thyroid storm. You should seek emergency medical attention for either.
Aging Can Be Unkind To Your Eyes
As we age, we lose skin tone, causing the tissues around the eye to grow weak . As these eye tissues weaken, fat can slide forward into the lower eyelids, creating the swollen look commonly associated with puffy eye bags. In addition, fluid can also collect under the eyes, causing swelling. According to the Cleveland Clinic, age-related loosening of the skin can cause the blood vessels under your eyes to become more visible, leading to the appearance of dark circles.
Aging is not the only factor in your eyes looking puffy. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, puffy eyes can be caused by eating a high-salt diet, which leads to water retention, or allergies, which can create inflammation under the eyes. Genetics are a big culprit as well, according to plastic surgeon Dr. Brett Kotlus. Chances are if family members such as parents or siblings have eye bags, you most likely will as well.
It is important to note that some medical conditions can make these under-eye bags worse . These include thyroid problems, kidney issues, and an adrenal deficiency brought on by factors, such as stress, lack of exercise, poor diet, or medications that can affect sleep patterns.
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Managing Eye Health With Hypothyroidism
Blurry vision and dry eyes can be the result of several conditions unrelated to your thyroid. Although under-active thyroid may play a role in eye symptoms, it is necessary to rule out other causes because appropriate treatment for dry eyes and blurry vision relies on knowing the root cause. Consider having a complete eye exam by an ophthalmologist to help rule out any possible causes related to the eye itself.
Test your vision
Your visual acuity can change as you age. If you are struggling with blurry vision, visit your eye doctor to assess for changes in your vision.
Treat your thyroid
Optimizing your thyroid function is essential for your overall health and wellbeing. Meet with your endocrinologist if you struggle with blurry vision or dry eyes. Checking your thyroid function is critical in determining the appropriate medication and dose for you. Reclaiming control of your thyroid with the right medication may help relieve irritating eye symptoms.
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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Can A Thyroid Problem Affect Your Eyes
The symptoms that occur in thyroid eye disease include dry eyes, watery eyes, red eyes, bulging eyes, a stare, double vision, difficulty closing the eyes, and problems with vision. Research suggests that the cause of thyroid disease and thyroid eye disease is an autoimmune disorder.
Can you go blind from thyroid eye disease?
As symptoms build, many patients fear they will lose their vision. Fortunately, patients almost never go blind from Graves eye disease.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Thyroid Eye Disease
The signs and symptoms of thyroid eye disease include:
- Pain behind your eyes and pain with eye movements.
Symptoms normally affect both eyes, but sometimes you may only notice symptoms in one eye.
Is thyroid eye disease contagious?
No. Thyroid eye disease isnt contagious. You cant catch it from anyone, and you cant transmit it to anyone.
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Prevalence Of Ocular Symptoms In Thyroid Disease
As we discussed, of those afflicted with thyroid disease, close to 100 percent develop dry eyes. Additionally, approximately 90 percent have eye lid retraction whereby the upper lid goes up, leaving bare sclera between the lid and cornea while concurrently, the lower lid goes down further, leaving bare sclera between the superior aspect of the lower eyelid and the cornea. With eyelid retraction an observer will notice that with the individual with thyroid disease one can see the white sclera wall thats normally covered by the eyelids. Furthermore,the eye bulging forward or proptosis is present in about 60% of patients with thyroid disease. These ocular physical signs are the most prevalent.
Tragically about 1 or 2 percent of people can have a permanent loss of vision. Sometimes its caused by scarring of the cornea but, more often, the inflammatory process can involve the nerve in the back of the eye, called the optic nerve, causing permanent damage to the nerve and result in permanent loss of vision. Frequently therell be large blind spots.
Anyone who has hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or any issues with the thyroid at all definitely should be monitored closely by an eye physician at a minimum of twice a year but, whenever theres a flare up, the frequency of eye exams should be more frequent as needed.
Treatment Can Start At Home
Treatments for eye bags include at-home remedies, such as cold compresses, tea bags on the eyes, and chilled cucumber slices placed over the eyes . Additionally, over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams can be used as a remedy for eye bags, as they contain phenylephrine, which can narrow blood vessels and bring swelling down. However, great caution should be applied when using this treatment, as these creams can cause irritation.
In addition, you can try to get enough sleep, and sleep with your head raised slightly to keep fluid from pooling beneath your eyes at night . In more severe cases, a surgical procedure called blepharoplasty may be necessary. In a blepharoplasty, a surgeon will reposition the fat under the eyes and, if necessary, remove excess skin. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, there are risks associated with this procedure, including eyelid problems, skin discoloration, and temporary blurring of vision. Before taking any measures to manage eye bags, discuss your condition with your doctor or ophthalmologist to determine whats best for you and your eyes.
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