Thyroid Eye Disease
Author: Bond Mejeh
Thyroid Eye Disease is an inflammatory condition which affects the eye muscles. It is almost always associated with hypothyroidism or thyroid cancer. The condition is an inflammation of soft eye tissue, eyelid retraction, proptosis which is forward projection or displacement of the eyeball, exposure of the cornea and compression of the optic nerve. There are certain visual signs of the disease such as eyelid retraction and eyelid lag, bulging eyes, double vision and protruded eyes. In many cases there is facial disfigurement and blindness.
The cornea is that "clear window" located at the front of the eye and is extremely important for clear vision. Over - exposure of the cornea results in drying, causes eye irritation, photophobia (or excessive sensitivity to light), tearing, pain and even decreased vision.
The severity of corneal exposure would depend on a few factors: poor eyelid closure, eyelid retraction and proptosis. In the worst cases such as when someone gets an eye ulcer, surgery or radiotherapy may be the only option to prevent further damage to the eye.
What is Ophthalmoplegia?
This is a condition in where eye muscles become thickened and scarred, preventing eyes from moving freely or together. It is a type of eye paralysis and can even result in having "crossed eyes", double vision or blurred vision. In most cases, ophthalmoplegia does not require treatment. Glasses with prisms may reduce and even eliminate the double vision in cases where the condition is not as severe.
About a million people in Unites States and Canada suffer from thyroid eye disease. Many patients with thyroid eye have to contend with facial disfigurement caused by it. It can lead to great depression loss of employment and relationships. Many of these individuals live in solitude avoiding social contacts because of the response to the disfigurement.
There have been major advances in surgical treatments of thyroid eye disease. However, very little has been done to heal the psychological scars. Some remedies include flax seed oil, room humidifiers, specified eye drops and lubricating ointments. A cold compress on the eyes as well as elevating the head to relieve any swelling also helps. Other remedies include corrective surgery for eyelids, decompression eye surgery and wearing high quality sunglasses. Using steroids and prisms that assist in correcting double vision are also helpful.
There are a lot of reports showing that many of the above can help alleviate symptoms associated with thyroid eye disease. Eye exercises are always good to do even if you're not a thyroid eye disease sufferer. This can serve as a preventative measure. More must be done do address the psychological consequences of the disease but the above information have proven to be quite useful for thyroid eye disease sufferers.