Thyroid Eye Disease - Overview
Proptosis or bulging eyes may signal more than a vision problem. They could signal a problem with the thyroid called Graves’ disease if the extraocular muscles (muscles that move the eye) are affected.
This condition is five times more likely to impact women than men and results from too much thyroid hormone in the body. This disease starts with the immune system, which can turn on the body and cause inflammation and swelling. The muscles that swing the eyes from left to right at the traffic stop, can stiffen and cause double vision. The eyes could be dry from air exposure because of proptosis.
Symptoms of Graves’ Disease include:
- Puffy, swollen retracted eyelids
- Gritty, burning, irritated eyes that frequently water
- Double vision
- Decreased vision, often following fading of colors
- Redness and swelling of the thin layer covering the white part of the eye
- Trouble completely closing the eyelids, especially during sleep
- Bulging eyes occur in 70% to 90% of the cases
- Thyroid medications
- Antibiotics for infections
- Prisms fitted into glasses to mimic eye movement
- Pressure compresses