Thyroid eye disease is an autoimmune disorder that can cause abnormal thyroid hormone levels as well as changes to the eye socket and eyelids. Common signs and symptoms of thyroid eye disease include:
- Bulging of the eyes
- Swelling of the eyelids
- Redness or irritation of the eyes
- Pressure sensation in the eye socket
- Double vision
When thyroid eye disease is severe, it can result in damage to the surface of the eye or permanent vision loss from damage to the optic nerve (the nerve that sends visually messages from the eye to the brain).
Treatment of thyroid eye disease depends on the phase and severity of the disease. Patients with mild disease may only need artificial tear drops to lubricate the surface of the eye. Patients with active or severe thyroid eye disease may require treatment with steroids, radiation or decompression surgery to reduce the bulging of the eye or to relieve pressure on the optic nerve. Patients who experience double vision may find relief from special glasses or eye muscle surgery. Your oculofacial surgeon can assess your particular condition and determine a treatment plan that is right for you.