Did you know that, according to the Cleveland clinic, dry eye syndrome can be directly linked to thyroid disease? Many people, when they think of dry eye syndrome, do not associate the condition with thyroid disease. After all, what would your thyroid have to do with your eyes?
What is This Condition?
The condition called thyroid eye disease (TED) occurs in people who already have thyroid disease, usually hyperthyroidism. In some cases, the dry eye that is an associated symptom is what brought the sufferer to the doctor's office in the first place. Research conducted by the Cleveland clinic suggests that TED is an autoimmune disorder, which is an imbalance in the immune system. Our immune system protects us from foreign bodies such as viruses and bacteria, as well as from cancerous cells.
In people with this condition, the immune system sends off abnormal alerts to the soft tissue around the eyes. This causes the muscles and tissue to swell and, as a result, cuts off the tear ducts that supply your eyes with the moisture needed to function properly, causing dry eye. Although most people who suffer from TED will show abnormal blood tests for thyroid hormone levels, in rare cases some who get the disease may show normal results. In such a case, your eye doctor may send you to an endocrinologist for further tests regarding your hormone levels.
TED can affect many different parts of the eye. A complete list of symptoms are as follows:
- Dry eyes
- Watery eyes
- Red eyes
- Bulging eyes
- Double vision
- Difficulty closing the eyes
- Problems with vision
If you suffer from any or all of these symptoms, it is recommended that you take a trip to an eye specialist immediately. Early diagnosis can save your eyes from harm and, in worst case scenarios, the permanent loss of sight.
Treatment for these symptoms includes artificial tears for irritation and an anti-inflammatory medication for the swelling of the soft tissue and muscles around your eyes. Your eye specialist will know the proper treatments for the various symptoms. Early detection and proper thyroid treatment are so important, as this can eliminate further issues and prevent damage caused by the disease. Do you suffer from TED and dry eye? Let us know if anything has helped you find relief!
One Love,Dr. Travis