What is Thyroid Eye Disease and How It Affects Your Eyes

The thyroid eye disease also known as Thyroid Orbitopathy is an eye problem that affects the soft tissues of the eye which border or is adjacent to the eyes. The most noticeable symptoms include inflammation and swelling of the tissues triggered by an abnormal immune reaction.

As the swelling continues, so does the space within the eye and as a result the eyeball is hard pressed. The cornea in effect is not adequately protected by the eyelid. The movement of the eyeball within the eye is limited because reduced functionality of the muscles in the eye.

The thyroid gland… Which is butterfly shaped is a small gland situated at the topmost part of the windpipe on the front side of the neck. It is a very essential part of the body as it is in charge of how fast or slow chemical reactions take place in the entire body. In essence, it controls the metabolic rate. Usually an autoimmune disease determines how overactive or under active this gland is.

The thyroid eye disease is autoimmune meaning that it is a result of an attack on the thyroid gland by antibodies. It’s an auto immune disease in the sense that the thyroid gland over reacts to attack from the antibodies. It is imperative to mention that this is one of the eye diseases that h csc terapia appen when the thyroid gland is functioning normally. Nonetheless, most people who are diagnosed with this eye problem may have experienced an abnormal thyroid dysfunction in the past.

Who gets affected? This eye condition is not common as statistics indicate that only 16 women in 100, 000 and three men in 100, 000 are affected. Out of those affected, close to 90% had a defective thyroid gland, mostly over reactive or have other auto immune disorders. This eye disease occurs in the late 20s and late 40s although cases have been reported in young adults. The thyroid eye disease is thought to be genetically linked and is worsened by bad living lifestyles like smoking and alcoholism.

Blood test… This is conducted when the doctor feels that there is a need to back up the initial diagnosis. The hormones in the blood are measured to determine how your thyroid gland is functioning. The blood tests are known as Thyroid Function Tests. A more intricate test seeking to measure the antibodies may also be conducted.

Scans… Sometimes the doctor may have to perform scans to evaluate how active the thyroid gland is. If the swelling of the orbit is worrying, a scan known as Magnetic Resonance Image scan is conducted. This is a more comprehensive scan that reveals the tissues that have been adversely affected.

Other tests… You eyesight is thoroughly placed under scrutiny to determine your ability to distinguish between colors and how good is your peripheral vision. The movement of the eyes is also checked to determine the extent of damage caused to the muscles.

Treatment… While the thyroid eye disease may heal by itself if not attended to, you may have to seek medical attention if there is excessive swelling. Treatment seeks to control the amount of damage that is done by the swelling. Treatment is also available if your eyelids don’t return to the normal position after the inflammation is contained.

Your eyes will be placed under the care of an eye care specialist (ophthalmologist) while the thyroid problem will be addressed by a hormone system specialist known in medical circles as an endocrinologist. Treatment options available include:

Laser eye surgery… Just like in the case of eye floaters, the surgical procedure is conducted only when the problem is severe. The surgery is meant to relieve pressure off the nerves. It may also be conducted to facilitate the return of the eyeballs back into the sockets.

Medication… At the initial stages of the thyroid disease, synthetic tears is enough to address the problem. As severity increases, immune suppressive drugs might be necessary. These are drugs that suppress the autoimmune activity of the antibodies. Such drugs include prednisolone and another steroid known as omeprazole.

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