Thyroid eye disease or Grave’s disease, as the name suggests is a thyroid related problem. People who already have thyroid problem are susceptible to this disease. However, it can also happen that this symptom is the first sign that your body gives you when you have thyroid problem, without knowing it.
At times though, even without a thyroid problem you can have the Grave’s eye disease. How would you know if you have it, and what are the treatments in case you do? Let us first discuss about the symptom of this disease and then move on to the issue of treating it.
This is basically an autoimmune condition where the thyroid gland is affected by immune cells leading to hormone secretion. The auto immune cells often tend to attack the eye muscles and the connective tissues that are present in the eye socket. But how do you know if you have the Grave’s eye disease or not? Here are the symptoms of this disease:
- Swollen and irritable eye, especially the frontal part.
- A feeling of dryness in the eye.
- Your eyes might ache
- You can get double visions
- If the case is advanced, your eyesight might get disturbed.
How do you deal with this problem then? Here are a few things that you need to know about the treatment:
Practically if left to itself, a minor case of Grave’s eye can heal without treatment. But in some cases the effects stay for a longer time causing much irritation and it will be necessary to undergo treatment. For the eye problem you will need to see an ophthalmologist and for the treatment of thyroid you will need to see other specialist. Let us look at the ways of treatments then:
If the disease is in its initial phase then your doctor might advice you to use mild lubricants for the eyes. But if the disease had already become a bit serious then you will need immunosuppressive drugs which stop the immune system from producing such harmful antibodies. Generally these drugs are steroid like Prednisolene. Now this drug can lead to some side effects, therefore you might need some other medications to deal with those side effects. Finally if the severity of the disease reaches to a level where your vision is being affected, you need to consult your doctor and get admitted in a hospital as soon as possible
Some people with this disease need a surgery of the optic nerve, which had become compressed due to this situation. At times a few people experience excessive bulging out of the eyes. So once the infection has receded, that can be fixed by surgery. In very rare occasions you might need surgeries to fix the eye muscles. If the problem is with the stretching of the tissues during the infection, surgery can be used to rectify that too.
However, the thyroid eye disease generally subsides on its own, and only in some cases you will need a continued period of medication, and in only worst cases, surgery. Otherwise it can be cured quite easily.