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Graves' disease causes problems in the thyroid gland, which controls your metabolism. Sometimes it can also cause eye problems. This is called thyroid eye disease or Graves' opthalmopathy. The tissues and muscles that surround your eye become swollen. This can cause your eye to move forward and bulge out. This can happen before, after, or at the same time as other signs of hyperthyroidism.
If you have thyroid eye disease you may have double vision. You may have swelling, pressure, or pain around the eyes. The skin around the eyes may look loose and baggy. You may also have dry or teary eyes, irritated eyes, redness, or problems closing your eyelids.
To treat Graves' disease, your doctor will make sure your thyroid level is normal. Your eye doctor will treat your eye symptoms or problems with your vision. The treatment will depend on how severe your symptoms are.
Artificial tears may be used to treat mild symptoms. If you have double vision, your eye doctor may recommend special lenses to help your vision. If you have swelling around the eyes, you may get a steroid medicine. It can help reduce the swelling. Or the doctor may talk to you about radiation or surgery for more serious eye problems. Radiation or surgery may help to treat problems in the muscles and tissues around your eyeball.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: December 18, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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