Thyroid Eye Disease is an autoimmune inflammatory disease of the eye and surrounding tissues. It is commonly referred to as Graves’ Eye Disease or Graves’ Ophthalmopathy. Thyroid eye disease usually is associated with other symptoms of an overactive thyroid. The disease often improves on its own. However, symptoms may persist despite treatment of the overactive thyroid gland and specific eye therapies. Michael Neimkin, M.D., at the Ophthalmic Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Center in Atlanta, GA, is a board-certified expert in treating thyroid eye disease.
Symptoms Associated with Thyroid Eye Disease
Symptoms include feelings of irritation or grittiness in the eyes, redness or inflammation of the white part of the eyeball, excessive tearing, dry eyes, swelling of the eyelids, sensitivity to light, forward displacement or bulging of the eyes, and double vision. In more advanced cases there may be decreased eye and eyelid movement, incomplete closure of the eye with corneal ulceration, and compression of the optic nerve. In extremely rare cases there is a loss of vision.
Swelling and enlargement of the eye muscles are indicators of the disease. A CT scan or MRI scan of the eye muscles is sometimes employed.
Treatments for Thyroid Eye Disease
Even though most of the symptoms of Graves’ disease can be treated successfully, Thyroid eye disease doesn’t always improve with treatment for Graves’ disease. A team-based approach with an endocrinologist minimizes disease progression before and necessary surgical correction. Artificial tears, gels, and ointments can go a long way toward easing dryness. To control double vision or loss of vision caused by extreme swelling, the steroid prednisone might be prescribed for a few weeks. In rare cases when these treatments don’t work, Dr. Neimkin performs customized orbital decompression surgery and eyelid reconstruction to restore function and appearance.
To get the most comprehensive assessment of your symptoms call or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation with Dr. Michael Neimkin. At the Ophthalmic Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Center, Dr. Neimkin and his staff take pride in only offering patients the highest level of care in a family-like environment. Our office serves patients in the metro Atlanta area including the surrounding communities. We look forward to helping you soon.