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Thyroid Eye Disease

Symptom management key to thyroid eye disease treatment

An overactive thyroid can cause a variety of health problems, including thyroid eye disease. Sometimes referred to as Graves' eye disease. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder, that leads to an overactive thyroid gland. Approximately 50% of people with Graves' disease develop thyroid eye disease (TED). If you are battling an overactive thyroid and suspect your eyes are being attacked, contact an optometry professional in addition to your endocrinologist. In the San Jose, Cupertino, Los Gatos and Santa Cruz areas of California, Spectrum Eye Physicians can help you understand your symptoms and develop a treatment plan. 

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What is thyroid eye disease?

Thyroid eye disease is an autoimmune disorder. As the thyroid gland is attacked, it creates an excess of thyroid hormones. The aggressive immune cells can also attack the eye tissue, including connective tissues, muscle, and fat deposits. 

What are the symptoms? 

Symptoms of thyroid eye disease do not always threaten your vision, but can cause extreme irritation. As the tissues in the eye are attacked, inflammation follows. You may experience a number of uncomfortable sensations and side effects, such as redness, puffiness, eye bulging, and dry eye. 

As symptoms progress, the pressure on the eye socket increases and headaches may start to occur with increasing frequency. If the tissue swells to a certain point, it may also place pressure on your optic nerve and reduce vision. 

Can I go blind? 

It is rare for a person to go blind due to thyroid eye disease. Most cases are treated using a variety of techniques and products to alleviate symptoms, and only 10-20% of those diagnosed with thyroid eye disease sustain any loss of vision. 

How do I treat thyroid eye disease? 

Our specialists can help you develop a treatment plan for the symptoms thyroid eye disease most frequently causes. Long-term, your treatment plan is two-prong with an initial focus on the disease itself, stabilization and symptom mitigation. As the disorder is better managed, you will be monitored for any reoccurrence of symptoms. 

Symptom management may include the use of artificial tears and other substances to reduce dry eyes and eye taping to keep the eyes closed while sleeping. Our specialists may also discuss techniques with you to minimize other risk-factors. These can include wearing sunglasses to minimize UV exposure, protect your eyes from the elements, or stopping other behaviors that negatively impact your body, such as smoking. 

One of our specialists at Spectrum Eye Physicians can help you develop a treatment plan and monitor you through a remission phase. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment at (408) 884-2215. 

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