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Does Your Thyroid Affect Your Eyes

Can Synthroid Affect Your Vision

Can my thyroid affect my vision?

Synthroid is one of the most common medications used to treat hypothyroidism. Also known by its generic name levothyroxine, Synthroid contains synthetic thyroid hormone that helps to replace low thyroid hormone in your body.

Like most medications, Synthroid comes with a list of side effects. One of the rarer side effects of Synthroid is that it may cause blurred or double vision and eye pain. These symptoms may stem from swelling caused by taking too much thyroid hormone or an adverse reaction to the medication, like an allergic reaction.

There are very few reports that Synthroid directly causes eye problems, except in rare cases where it is an adverse reaction. If you struggle with eye issues while taking Synthroid, it is more likely related to your thyroid not being correctly managed or other causative factors like allergies, etc.

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.

Coping With Changes To Your Appearance

It is well known that TED can affect your psychological and social well-being. You may feel anger, loss of self-esteem or confidence, or socially isolated, because of the change in the appearance of your eyes. Your mood can also be affected by medications you may be taking, such as steroids. TED can change your facial appearance and alter your expression which may affect the way people react to you which, understandably, can be difficult to cope with. Treatment, which may include surgery, can often improve this and counselling, or contact with others who have TED, can help you find coping strategies.

Some of the following organisations might be helpful:

  • Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust can help put you in touch with other people who have had similar experiences which is often helpful.
  • The British Thyroid Foundation has a network of telephone support volunteers that can help. They also have closed Facebook groups for people with TED. You can email them at if you would like their support.
  • The charity Changing Faces also offers a support service for anyone experiencing a condition or injury that affects their appearance.
  • Our Counselling and Wellbeing team can offer telephone counselling to anyone affected by sight loss or an eye condition.

Page last reviewed: Sept. 1, 2022

Next review due: Jan. 31, 2023

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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.

How Can I Find Support

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Because thyroid eye disease can change your vision and appearance, it can have a big effect on your life. Its important to get support along with your treatment. You might start by talking to family and friends about what youâre going through.

Depression is common in people with thyroid eye disease. If you feel like youâre struggling, talk to your doctor. They can put you in touch with a mental health professional who can help.

Graves disease support groups are another place to turn. Youll meet other people with thyroid eye disease who may have advice to help you manage your condition. You can find a support group through an organization like the Graves Disease & Thyroid Foundation.

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How Is Thyroid Eye Disease Treated / Managed

Thyroid eye disease in its active phase can last between one and three years. That means if it is left untreated, the inflammation may gradually decrease by itself but may cause damage to vision through the course of the disease. Sometimes, the changes caused by the enlargement of the tissues may not go away. The goal of treatment is to limit inflammation and swelling occurring during the active or inflammatory phase and to protect the front of the eye and prevent vision loss.

Thyroid eye disease is managed by a specialist eye doctor . Any underlying thyroid problems will be managed by your primary care doctor or by a specialist in the hormone systems of the body .

If a thyroid issue is suspected, evaluation and treatment are critical. The first priority is to restore your normal thyroid function. In addition, eye conditions should be examined and treated at the same time as your thyroid gland treatment. Eye problems may continue to progress even after your thyroid function returns to normal.

If you have thyroid eye disease, your eye doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments to help soothe your eyes and improve your vision:

Cool compresses: Apply cool compresses to your eyes. The extra moisture and cooling effect may provide relief.

Sunglasses: When you have thyroid eye disease, your eyes are more sensitive to sunlight and UV rays. Wearing sunglasses helps protect them from both sun and wind.

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.

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Treatment Of Thyroid Eye Disease

The irritation can be relieved by lubricating eye drops. Redness and aching can be relieved by the use of a cold compress over the eyes this is available from pharmacies. Since symptoms tend to be worse at night, some people find that elevating the head of the bed with a brick can give some symptom relief.

During phase one when there is a lot of inflammation and swelling, oral steroids like prednisone are often given. This can reduce the swelling and pain. Steroids cannot be used for long periods of time because they have side effects, such as weight gain, indigestion and a worsening of restlessness, which is also a symptom of Graves disease. Some people require radiotherapy if the swelling is very bad.

During phase two when there is scarring, some people need surgery to lower the upper eyelid if it is abnormally raised. Surgery can reduce the poppyness of the eyes and also can fix the double vision if the eye muscles are moved.

Thyroid eye disease is most common in people with an overactive thyroid gland caused by Graves disease. The Graves disease is quickly treated by reducing thyroid hormone levels but unfortunately this doesnt help the eye disease much. For many people, thyroid eye disease becomes a long term problem the inflammation and swelling pass but around a third of people are left with continual dryness, irritation and sensitivity.

A Note From Paloma Health

Thyroid problems & How they affect the eyes | Family Eye Care

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.

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Can Lack Of Sleep Cause Thyroid Problems

Sleep habits may play a role in your susceptibility to thyroid disease. One study9 found that people who sleep fewer than seven hours per day are at greater risk of developing hyperthyroidism, while sleeping more than eight hours per day may increase the risk of both overactive and underactive thyroid function.

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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How Does Thyroid Eye Disease Affect Mental Health

TED can cause eye pain, double vision, loss of vision, and changes to your appearance which may impact your quality of life. The impacts of TED can lead you to experience to depression, anxiety, loss of independence, and reduced self-confidence. You may have a decreased desire to socialize with others, have trouble with productivity at school or work, and stop doing activities you once enjoyed.

To help support your mental health as you deal with TED:

  • Talk to your doctor: Talk to your doctor about any changes to your emotional well-being. Ask questions on how TED will affect your daily life and work.
  • Seek support: Seek out support groups of others who are going through TED. The Graves Disease and Thyroid Foundation offers support groups for people with Graves disease, thyroid eye disease, and other thyroid conditions. These groups can help you learn about your condition, share your experience, and find support.
  • Connect with others: Stay connected friends and family to keep you from feeling isolated.
  • Take time to enjoy life: Take part in activities or hobbies that make you happy.
  • Exercise: Exercise can help symptoms of depression or anxiety and make you feel better. Talk to your health care professional to determine what exercise routine may work best for you, especially if you have changes to your vision due to TED.

To learn more, check out the following resources:

Can Synthroid Thyroid Medication Cause Eye Problems

How Does Thyroid Eye Disease Affect The Eyes?

Eye problems are common in hyperthyroidism, a condition where your body has too much thyroid hormone. People can get Graves’ ophthalmopathy, also known as thyroid eye disease when the condition is unaddressed. But eye problems are not just restricted to people with hyperthyroidism. People with hypothyroidism can also experience eye issues. Eye issues associated with hypothyroidism may even be a side effect of common thyroid medications used to treat an underactive thyroid. Here’s what you should know if you struggle with eye problems and are treating your hypothyroidism with Synthroid.

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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.

Following Treatment Guidelines For Graves’ Disease And Hyperthyroidism

Not receiving treatment for Graves disease and hyperthyroidism makes you more likely to develop problems with your eyes. In addition, taking your medications correctly for Graves disease and hyperthyroidism can affect the condition of your eyes.

Other lifestyle factors that may affect thyroid eye disease development include:

  • Changes in hormones
  • Taking certain medications, such as amiodarone for heart disease
  • Not having enough or having too much dietary iodine

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What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose Thyroid Eye Disease

A healthcare provider will be able to diagnose thyroid eye disease by doing a physical eye exam. They will be able to examine both your eyelids and your eyes.

If your healthcare provider thinks that you have thyroid eye disease, theyll order blood tests to check if your thyroid hormone levels and antibodies are too high or too low.

Other tests your provider may request include:

Is Thyroid Eye Disease A Disability

Thyroid Eye Disease | Dr Alan Mendelsohn

Some people with this autoimmune-driven disorder are unable to control their symptoms though, and some also experience debilitating and disfiguring eye issues. The Social Security Administration does not generally consider Graves’ disease to be a severe disability, because most people respond well to treatment.

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Thyroid Glands Relation To The Eye

Although Graves disease and Graves eye disease both stem from the immune systems attack on healthy tissue, one disease does not directly cause the other. Thats why treatment of the thyroid gland, while important, does not improve the eye disease. The two diseases run their separate courses and do not necessarily occur at the same time.

Your Thyroid And Your Eyes

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that hugs your neck. It produces several hormones that help regulate body temperature, metabolism, heart rate even your digestion process.

Your thyroid gland produces specific amounts of hormones to keep your body healthy and functioning. But sometimes, the gland produces too many hormones or too few .

Vision problems are almost always associated with hyperthyroidism, often with a thyroid-related autoimmune disease called Graves disease. In fact, about a third of people with Graves disease develop Graves ophthalmopathy, a series of eye- and vision-related symptoms associated with their underlying thyroid problem.

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What Happens If You Stop Taking Synthroid Abruptly

Discontinuing the use of your Synthroid thyroid medication won’t cause withdrawal symptoms. However, discontinuing the use of your Synthroid thyroid medication may cause you to experience some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism that it is working to treat. This resurgence of symptoms occurs because Synthroid was delivering thyroid hormones to your body, but when you stop the drug, your body no longer receives the necessary hormones.

If you have questions about stopping treatment with Synthroid, we recommend that you first talk with your thyroid doctor.

New Study: Breakthrough Drug Reduces Graves Eye Disease Symptoms

Thyroid Eye Disease Before And After

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 Thyroid Cause Blurred Vision

Mamie Butler | Answered July 26, 2020

Common eye symptoms in thyroid dysfunction

Swelling may cause blurry vision due to pressure applied to the optic nerve. Similarly, hypothyroidism may cause dry eyes. A study comparing people with Hashimotos disease to people with a healthy thyroid found that those with Hashimotos are more likely to have dry eyes.

Nov 19, 2021

Heres What You Should Know About Graves Ophthalmopathy:

  • TED generally develops more commonly in women than in men. It is thought that this is due to a higher incidence of hyperthyroidism in women.

  • Risk factors include having had radioactive iodine therapy, being middle aged, and smoking cigarettes. Smoking can reduce the effectiveness of medical treatment for Graves.

  • TED occurs in about half the cases of Graves disease.

  • When TED is active, the symptoms can last from 6 months to 2 years or more. There may be long inactive periods of time with fewer symptoms as well.

  • TED has a genetic component, although the underlying mechanism behind the disease is not fully understood.

  • People with TED may be at relative risk for other autoimmune disorders. These can include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, vitiligo, Addison’s disease, celiac disease, and more.

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