Thyroid eye disease (TED) is an autoimmune disease which affects the muscles and other tissues in the orbits. People who suffer from systemic/overactive thyroid problems are more likely to suffer from TED. People affected often look like they are staring at a point, have swollen upper and lower lids and protruding eyes. Over here let’s discuss more about the disease, its symptoms and treatment.
TED occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the tissue near the eyes. As a result, the muscles and other tissues are inflamed, swollen and often become stiff. In most cases, thyroid eye disease only causes irritation and swelling of the eyes. People affected may feel the discomfort for a few months or maybe a year before the problem settles down. However, in some rare cases the problem can be serious and even lead to vision loss.
It’s important to note that eye and thyroid problems are connected but they have different courses of treatment. The medications for thyroid problems can’t help you manage the symptoms associated with the eye disease. A CT scan or an MRI is a very important test for the diagnosis of the disease.
How does TED affect the eyes?
When the muscles behind the eye are swollen, they push the eye forward – which can impact the eye movement causing the patient to complain of double vision. In rare cases where the eye muscles get severely swollen, the optic nerve is pushed which may lead to visual loss.
Symptoms of TED
- Eye irritation
- Dry or gritty eyes
- Double vision
- Teary eyes
- Eye pain while moving the eyes
- Redness of eyes
- Puffy eyelids
If you experience any of these symptoms, visit an eye specialist immediately- as these symptoms indicate very quickly progressing form of thyroid eye disease. In case of mild to moderate disease, symptoms include bulging eyes, redness, and puffiness of the eyelid and around the eyes.
Important advice for patients suffering from TED
- Quit smoking
- Get your blood thyroid levels checked regularly
Often the symptoms associated with TED are fluctuating in nature – which means they come and go for several weeks. In some cases, one may notice the symptoms for 1-2 years. Patients who suffer from progressing form of thyroid eye disease notice the worsening of symptoms in a few months of the problem starting. Let’s see the treatment options for the common symptoms
- For irritation and redness of the eyes, artificial tears are often found to be useful
- Some patients are given medications to reduce the inflammation
- In most cases, the problem of starey look settles with time. If the starey look is severe and is affecting the appearance, eyelid surgery can be performed
- Squint surgery can be done to cure double vision. Some patients are also recommended to use prisms attached to spectacles to alleviate double vision
- If you are suffering from deteriorating vision and even with the change of spectacles your vision isn’t improving, consult with an eye specialist immediately.
Don’t take any instance of vision change lightly as it can indicate a serious problem. If you live in Kolkata and are looking for an eye specialist in Kolkata, get in touch with us.