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Thyroid eye disease 

"Did you see that lady with swelling in her neck, staring at us?", my friend remarked while boarding the train. I wanted to tell her about the 'arrogant staring lady'. May be the poor lady had Thyroid disease!

Thyroid is a hormone secreting gland, located in the neck. The hormone is needed for normal body function. Excess of thyroid hormone is called 'hyperthyroidism' .

Hyperthyroidism causes changes in the eye.

The eyes appear bigger and more prominent. There is decreased rate of lid blinking. This gives the person a 'staring' appearance. There is inability or decreased ability of eye movements, causing 'squint' in certain directions of gaze and a troublesome double vision.

What exactly happens?

There is increased deposition of soft mucous tissue in the eye, especially in the eye muscles. 

This accumulation causes a forward protrusion of the eye and restricts the movement of eye muscles, causing 'squint'

Too much deposition can cause an 'increased pressure' effect in the eye and this can cause swelling of the optic nerve and decreased vision.

 With the decreased blink rate and deposits in lacrimal gland, there is a 'dry eye'.

So what can be done?

Control of the thyroid disease condition may bring relief to the eye problems.

The eye-doctor can give -

Artificial tears for the dry eye.
For the squint, prisms in spectacles may help. Sometimes surgery may be done for correction of squint and relieve double vision.
In late stages, with pressure on the optic nerve, an 'orbital decompression surgery' may be required.

 

 

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