What is thyroid associated orbitopathy?
Thyroid associated orbitopathy occurs when an autoimmune thyroid condition affects the tissue surrounding the eyes. It is normally related to hyperthyroidism (over active thyroid) but it can also occur in patients with hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) or even those without a thyroid condition. One characteristic of this disease is that, despite the thyroid being the main organ affected, it can also affect the tissue surrounding the eyes.
Mild symptoms: foreign body sensation, eye reddening, swelling and heaviness of the eyelids, difficulty reading, eyelid retraction (eyes opening wider).
Other symptoms: Double vision, exophthalmos (eyes bulging out), blurred vision, corneal injuries, pain on eye movement, etc.
Treating thyroid orbitopathy
This will depend on the symptoms detected by the ophthalmologist on examination and their seriousness. In modern ophthalmology treatment is usually conservative, with selenium and eye lubricant used. In moderate cases treatment may involve the use of methylprednisolone in cycles of several weeks under supervision of an oculoplastic surgeon. In more serious cases surgery may be required to release pressure in the orbital zone. The scars from the orbitopathy may also require surgical treatment whether of the orbital area, the muscles surrounding the eyes or the eyelids.