This occurs in patients who already have thyroid disease or quite often the eye signs are the first problems that brings the patient to the doctor.
It is an autoimmune disorder and affects the eye and the tissues surrounding it. The disease has a active phase and a fibrotic phase. The active phase can last for about four to five years and patients are very troubled by eg. bulging eyes, swelling of the lids, red eye, double vision and inability to close the eyes. The most devastating complaint is loss of vision because of corneal exposure or compression to the optic nerve.
The treatment options depend on the symptoms and signs. Vision threatening symptoms due to nerve compression will need urgent medical treatment such as steroids, surgical decompression or radiation.
Patients who have thyroid eye disease should visit the ophthalmologist to get a basic eye evaluation to assess the vision, eye pressure readings and optic nerve function so that a proper course of treatment can be recommended.