Tags: Thyroid Disorders | thyroid | eye | disease | graves | hyperthyroidism

Thyroid and Your Eyes: What You Need to Know

By    |   Wednesday, 02 March 2016 04:57 PM

Improper thyroid function can affect your overall good health. There is also a connection between thyroid disease and your eyes.

Located at the base of the throat, the small, butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is responsible for producing thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism. Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, and hyperthyroidism means the thyroid is overactive and produces too much hormone. When the eyes are affected, it is most often because of hyperthyroidism, according to Kirk Eye Center.

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A common cause of hyperthyroidism is the autoimmune disorder called Graves' disease and thyroid eye disease is also called Graves' eye disease, says University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center. The eyes are especially vulnerable to damage because the autoimmune disease attacks eye muscles and tissues of the eye socket. While this can sometimes occur with normal or even low levels of thyroid function, it is most often seen with overactive thyroid.

Early stages of hyperthyroidism may produce no eye symptoms. However, as it progresses, Kirk Eye Center says thyroid eye disease has the following symptoms:

• Bulging eyes
• A scratchy or gritty feeling in the eyes, especially upon waking
• Eyelids that do not completely close
• Dry eyes, often caused because the eyelids cannot completely cover the eyes
• Excessive tearing in response to dry eyes
• Sensitivity to light
• Swelling in many parts of the eyes
• Blurry or double vision
• Limited eye movement, most often due to swelling

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Cleveland Clinic says some patients with these symptoms are already aware they have hyperthyroidism, but that is not always the case. Occasionally, it is these types of eye symptoms that prompts a trip to the physician for investigation.

Treatment for thyroid eye disease may involve prescription anti-inflammatory drugs or steroids, radiation, or even surgery, says Cleveland Clinic.

Kellogg Eye Center explains that the first priority with thyroid eye disease is to treat the thyroid disorder itself. Once the hormones are balanced properly, the eyes must be monitored as the disease usually progresses over time.

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Improper thyroid function can affect your overall good health. There is also a connection between thyroid disease and your eyes.
thyroid, eye, disease, graves, hyperthyroidism
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 04:57 PM
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