Thyroid orbitopathy is a type of eye disease that affects the eye socket and surrounding tissues. For example, the condition can affect a person’s eye muscles and eyelids. Some doctors refer to this autoimmune inflammatory condition as thyroid eye disease. Those who have this condition may also develop problems with their thyroid gland.
What are the Symptoms of Thyroid Eye Disease?
The symptoms from thyroid eye disease usually develop gradually. In fact, it can take nearly a year for the symptoms to become severe. Patients may experience dryness, redness, eye pressure and irritation. Some of the more severe symptoms include double vision, blurred vision, protruded eyes and loss of vision.
As the symptoms worsen, patients usually experience a burned out phase. During this phase, a person may need to undergo rehabilitative surgery. For instance, the patient may need to visit an oculofacial plastic surgeon for orbital decompression surgery. Cosmetic and reconstructive surgery can help repair bulging eyes.
How is Thyroid Eye Disease Treated?
Most patients need a multidisciplinary form of treatment. For example, they may need the help of an endocrinologist, a thyroid surgeon and an oculoplastic surgeon. Simply treating the eyes will not fix the issue. Doctors must treat the underlying problem before more damage occurs. For example, the patient may need medication, radioactive iodine or thyroid surgery.
During the inflammatory stage of thyroid eye disease, doctors treat patients by giving them eye lubrication and steroids. They must monitor their patients closely to ensure that no optic nerve damage occurs. Smoking can make thyroid eye disease worse, so doctors usually encourage their patients to kick the habit.
Orbital Decompression Surgery
Once the inflammation subsides, patients may need to visit a oculoplastic surgeon like Dr. Robert Schwarcz in New York, to have their eye abnormalities corrected. A surgeon can correct the patient’s bulging eyes so that he or she can see again. Orbital decompression surgery expands the eye socket, which allows the eyeball to move back into position. Besides correcting a person’s vision, this surgery also helps improve the patient’s cosmetic appearance.
Click here to learn more about other types of reconstructive surgery including eye socket repair, eyelid ptosis repair and more.