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Thyroid ophthalmopathy: symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The eyes are essential organs in the human being to carry out everyday life, which are exposed to different types of aggression due to how exposed they are. Although the vast majority are not significant problems, some other disorders have a more complex development that compromises their functioning. The thyroid is a gland in charge of secreting and storing hormones; it carries out many functions of great importance in the body.

It is an organ that very frequently suffers from alterations that, in turn, can affect many other organs due to the diversity and importance of its normal functioning, among which the eyes can be found. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will explain everything about thyroid ophthalmopathy: symptoms and treatment, fundamental knowledge of how frequent thyroid conditions are, and how vital a healthy vision is for day-to-day life.

Thyroid ophthalmopathy: definition

Thyroid ophthalmopathy is a disorder present in the eyes that produce a clinical manifestation of Graves’ disease. It is observed much more frequently in the female than in the male sex. In addition to visual disturbances, he presents changes in the orbital soft tissues due to an inflammatory process. The vast majority of people with Graves’ disease are accompanied by this alteration, which helps diagnose it. Thyroid ophthalmopathy is also known as Graves-Basedow ophthalmopathy or thyroid eye disease.

Thyroid ophthalmopathy: causes

Thyroid ophthalmopathy is related to endocrine disorders of the thyroid gland. This is the case of Graves’ disease, which is an autoimmune disease capable of causing hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland becomes hyperproductive and synthesizes an excess of thyroid hormone. The term autoimmune means that the immune system mistakenly attacks the cells of the body, such as the tissues around the eyes, whether they are muscles of the eyelid, the look, and the periorbital region, causing inflammation of these structures and the characteristic puffy eyes of certain people affected by thyroid problems.

Thyroid ophthalmopathy: symptoms

At the beginning of the disease, the first symptoms appear, which consist of:

  • A feeling of pressure in the eye
  • Ocular dryness
  • The eye area begins to look red and irritated.
  • There is a presence of inflammation in the eyelids.
  • Unable to wear contact lenses
  • There is also constant tearing and difficulty closing the eyes, especially when sleeping.
  • In some cases, visual disorders such as double vision are because the extraocular muscles may be affected. If they are very inflamed, this muscle can press the optic nerve, altering the concept.
  • The presence of exophthalmos, which means that the eyes are displaced outwards, is also used for the diagnosis since the inflammation produces retraction of the eyelids, increasing the opening, giving an appearance of ” bulging eyes. “

Sometimes these symptoms appear at the onset of the thyroid disease. Although this may vary, after a few months, the person may be left with double vision, exophthalmos, bags on the eyelids, among other sequelae that affect both aesthetically and the level of eye health. It must be borne in mind that in those cases in which the exposure of the cornea is prolonged due to the inability to close the eyes, it can cause ulcerations that cause loss of vision.

Treatment for thyroid ophthalmopathy

For thyroid ophthalmopathy, it is necessary to take the treatment of the thyroid gland as a priority, which is why it is required to attend a specialist doctor in that area, which is the endocrinologist, who will be in charge of prescribing the ideal drug for this condition.

In the case of mild eye disorders, they can be treated with:

  • Hydration in the area through eye drops
  • Using cold compresses to relieve symptoms of inflammation
  • I wear sunglasses during the day
  • Sleeping with your head elevated
  • Using ointments to hydrate and deflate the eyes before sleeping

In advanced cases in which vision is already altered, or severe exophthalmos affecting aesthetics, orbital decompression can be used, in which part of the bones surrounding the eyeball, or the orbital fats, or both, are removed. In other cases, the specialist doctor may suggest the application of intravenous corticosteroids.

The surgery will take place in cases where the orbit area finds no activity, such as surgery to correct the position of the eyelids to reset them to their normal position, thus improving their appearance.

In those cases of diplopia (double vision), it can be compensated with glasses. When it is advanced, it is considered to reposition the muscles through surgery to improve vision when conservative measures have no effect.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Thyroid ophthalmopathy: symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter our Endocrine System category.

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