We are all well aware of thyroid disorders and their effects on our bodies, but how many of you are aware of the impact they may have on our eyes? Yes, that's right! Thyroid disorders may result in several eye and vision problems.
Not many of you must be aware of how common eye issues due to thyroid are. Those suffering from thyroid disorder may have experienced eye problems, but sometimes eye issues occur as the first symptom of thyroid disorder.
Eye issues due to thyroid may cause various vision-related problems like blurry or double vision. They also cause irritation to your eyes, dry eyes, watery eyes, red eyes, staring or bulgy eyes and can lead to difficulty in closing your eyes. These problems are collectively called thyroid eye disease.
As eye problems are common in people with thyroid disorders, it helps to have a brief knowledge about them.
What is Thyroid Eye Disease, and what causes it?
The various eye issues due to the thyroid can be collectively diagnosed as thyroid eye disease. The cause of thyroid eye disease is similar to the thyroid, which is an underlying autoimmune disorder or hormonal imbalance.
When our body's immune system attacks the tissue surrounding the eyes, it can lead to thyroid eye disease. This also leads to further issues like dry or watery eyes and vision problems like blurry or double vision.
Thyroid eye disease is mostly seen in people with an overactive or underactive thyroid. It is at times independent of thyroid disease. This means that thyroid eye disease can sometimes be also seen in people with no thyroid dysfunction. In such cases, the eye disorder may be caused due to some other autoimmune disease.
Not all people with thyroid disorder will encounter eye issues due to thyroid, but if you do, you must consult an ophthalmologist to avoid further complications.
Symptoms of Thyroid Eye Disease
We have already seen what problems thyroid eye disease can cause to your eyes and vision. You should also know some common thyroid eye disease symptoms to look out for.
Unequal opening of eyes
Red, swollen and bulgy eyes with an even "stare"
Pain while closing or opening the eyes
Pain while looking up, down and sideways
Blurry or double vision
Increased sensitivity to bright lights
After looking at the symptoms, are you concerned that most of them look awfully similar to what you experience after an allergy? That's actually right, and it's also why sometimes this condition is misdiagnosed as an allergy.
There are, however, certain differentiating symptoms— with thyroid eye disease. You don't get itchy eyes and the pain usually starts at the back of the eye which is not the case with allergies. Also, you do not get sticky eyes as you do in conjunctivitis.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, consult an ophthalmologist for a precise diagnosis. Do not self-diagnose in any case.
How is Thyroid Eye Disease Diagnosed?
Thyroid eye disease diagnosis differs based on whether you were pre-diagnosed with thyroid dysfunction or not. In people who already have thyroid dysfunction, the only consultation is with an ophthalmologist who will look at your symptoms and give you a clear diagnosis.
However, if you have never been diagnosed with any hormonal imbalance, your ophthalmologist will suggest you consult with an endocrinologist to check your hormone levels first (through some blood exams).
After the blood exams and symptoms give a picture of the expected diagnosis, an MRI or a CT scan may be sometimes suggested to confirm the diagnosis just to be more clear.
Treatment of Thyroid Eye Disease
The initial treatment of any condition begins with controlling the symptoms. Similar is the case with thyroid eye disease treatment. Your doctor may prescribe eye drops for keeping your eyes well lubricated.
In case of severe symptoms, medicines such as corticosteroids may be prescribed. You will also be told to practice eye care like avoiding dust and bright light. Apart from this, corrective glasses and prism glasses are also prescribed depending on the vision problems you are experiencing.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms and the reaction towards conservative treatment, the doctor might suggest surgery. The type of surgery recommended in such cases is eyelid retraction surgery or orbital decompression surgery. Even eye muscle surgeries are recommended in people with double vision.
Why Choose Centre for Sight?
Eye issues due to thyroid may lead to severe vision impairments if not diagnosed and treated on time. You need a reliable and experienced ophthalmologist to ensure that you get the right diagnosis with the best treatment. If you are wondering where to find one, Centre for Sight has got you covered!
We have a team of qualified and highly experienced ophthalmologists at CFS who will guide you through the diagnosis and the entire treatment program. You will be in loop with all the treatment methods as much as your doctor, leaving no room for doubt.
Article: Can You Suffer from Eye Issues Due to Thyroid?
Author: CFS Editorial Team | Jun 17 2021 | UPDATED 03:10 IST
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his privatecapacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.