What is a thyroid?
The thyroid gland is located in the neck, and it’s job is to release two hormones in the blood to allow all the cells of the body to function normally.
What is thyroid eye disease (TED)?
Each eye has six muscles which allow the eyes to look around, and we all also have a bit of fatty tissue behind the eyes. TED is when there is inflammation of these muscles and fatty tissue, causing them to swell up. TED is usually associated with an over-active thyroid, although it can be present in people with under-active or even normal thyroid function. Smoking greatly increases the risk of developing TED.
What are the symptoms of TED?
The most common symptom is the bulging out or staring of the eyes. Other symptoms include a swollen feeling by the eye lids, discomfort when moving the eyes around, or blurred or double vision. There may also be dry or watery eyes.
What is the treatment for TED?
The most important factor is getting the thyroid levels under control, so follow all advice given by your General Practitioner. Artificial tears can be used to help against dry eyes, and prisms in glasses or steroids medication may help relieve any double vision. It can take up to a couple of years for TED to settle. In severe cases, there are different surgical options that may be used to reduce the bulging of the eyes, relieve the double vision or improve the lids appearance.
Smoking greatly increases the chances of you developing TED. Ask your General Practitioner or pharmacist for advice on quitting.
Useful link: visit the British Thyroid Foundation for more information regarding TED and thyroid problems in general.