Dryness, watery eyes, double vision are signs of thyroid eye disease
Inflammation due to thyroid eye disease lasts for 6 months to 2 years
Those with a genetic disorder are at a greater risk of this eye disease
Thyroid eye disease is a disorder where eye muscles and soft tissues get inflamed and swollen. This may lead to pushing your eyes forward causing bulging eyes and other symptoms. Reports state that puffy eyes due to thyroid are more common in women than men with an estimated 16 per 1 lakh women getting affected. However, the disease affects men more severely.
Those with a genetic disorder are at a greater risk of developing this condition though even those with normal thyroid functioning can suffer from it . For instance, in a review involving 26,084 patients, over 40% of Asians with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder, had thyroid eyes disease . As per specialists, 25-50% of people with thyroid issues, both hyper and hypothyroidism, develop this disease globally, with about 5% suffering from tangible vision issues . However, the prevalence of thyroid eyes disease is a lot more in those with hyperthyroidism as compared to those with hypothyroidism or those with a normal thyroid .
While hypothyroidism and dry eyes are linked together, with hyperthyroidism bulging eyes are seen most frequently. But why does this happen? Read on to understand the cause, complications of thyroid eyes disease, and the tips to prevent it.
Thyroid eye disease is an autoimmune disorder where your immune system attacks tissues surrounding the eye. This causes inflammation in your eye muscles, eyelids, tear glands, fatty tissues, and other tissues behind and around the eye. This results in your eyes and eyelids feeling uncomfortable or becoming red or swollen or being pushed forward. Sometimes, patients may experience stiffness and swelling in the eye muscles, causing double vision. Similarly, ulcers on the eyelids may make it difficult for patients to close them or the pressure on the nerves may lead to reduced vision.
Some common symptoms include the following.
Keep in mind that those who smoke, have diabetes, and are older are more likely to be affected by this disease. In cases of severe thyroid eye disease or when treatment has been delayed, lasting complications may occur. Some of them include damage to the cornea, permanent squint, double vision, and altered appearance of the eyes. Some patients may also experience poor vision due to damaged eye nerves. However, most people don’t develop permanent complications.
Your doctor may suggest artificial tear drops, gel, or ointments to help relieve dryness and scratchiness in the eyes.
You may be given oral or intravenous steroids to reduce swelling in your eyes. Hydrocortisone, prednisone, and omeprazole are some steroids that are prescribed by doctors. Steroids can also help reduce double vision and redness of the eyes and eyelids.
Glasses with prisms may be prescribed by the doctor to counter double vision caused by thyroid eye disease.
Thyroid eye disease may lead to difficulty in closing the eyelids, leaving the cornea more exposed and causing irritation or corneal ulcers. Eyelid surgery is prescribed in such cases to reduce the exposure of the cornea and protect your eyes.
This helps treat double vision in case it cannot be controlled with prisms. The affected muscle is moved back from its position on the eyeball. Some patients require more than one surgery for satisfactory results.
This is done to improve your vision by removing excess tissue or expanding the eye socket if there is pressure on the optic nerve. It may be also done to reduce bulging of the eyes and improve appearance.
Thyroid eye disease affects each person differently with inflammation lasting for 6 months to 2 years. However, you may experience other effects even after the swelling subsides. Thus, it is better to consult an ophthalmologist or endocrinologist at the earliest. You can now book an appointment online and consult with the best of doctors virtually on Bajaj Finserv Health.