Symptoms of Thyroid Eye Disease (Graves’ Orbitopathy)

Here are the eye symptoms to look out for, before it’s too late.

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Graves’ disease affects about one in every 200 people in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. If you have this disease, you are also at risk of a complication known as thyroid eye disease, or Graves’ orbitopathy. Knowing the symptoms of thyroid eye disease can help you start treatment early and prevent possible vision loss.

Symptoms of thyroid eye disease can manifest in many ways. That’s why it is important to talk to your doctor about any changes in vision or around the eye that you notice. This will allow them to monitor any progression and intervene sooner rather than later.

Symptoms of Thyroid Eye Disease to Look Out For

There are various symptoms that can show up when someone has thyroid eye disease. These can include:

  • Grittiness in the eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sensation of a foreign object in the eyes
  • Tearing
  • Light sensitivity
  • Double vision
  • Redness
  • Eyelids retracting, or “pulling back”
  • Difficulty looking up
  • Bulging of the eyes
  • General loss of vision

Severe Symptoms

If you develop sudden and severe eye symptoms, you should get emergency medical care. This is a sign of a sight-threatening complication, and you may be a candidate for surgical decompression. If you get this surgery in a timely manner, it can save your vision and improve symptoms.

Starting Treatment Early

If you’re experiencing any signs of thyroid eye disease, talk to your primary care provider or ophthalmologist. They can evaluate your eyes and provide a treatment plan, if necessary. An ophthalmologist can help you prevent permanent eye damage and vision loss. It can also reduce the changes to your appearance, reduce unpleasant symptoms, and help you feel better in the long run.