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Home > Health Library > Hyperthyroidism: Graves' Ophthalmopathy
Graves' ophthalmopathy, also called thyroid eye disease, is an autoimmune disease that can occur in people with Graves' disease. In Graves' ophthalmopathy, the tissues and muscles behind the eyes become swollen. The eyeballs may stick out farther than normal. This can occur before, after, or along with other signs of hyperthyroidism.
Most people who develop Graves' ophthalmopathy have one or more of the following symptoms:
Graves' ophthalmopathy may get worse if your thyroid levels are out of balance. It may also get worse temporarily if you are given radioactive iodine therapy. Smoking increases your chances of developing Graves' ophthalmopathy. And it can make the condition worse.
Treatment will depend on how severe your symptoms are. Treatments may include corticosteroid medicines, immunosuppressants, radiation therapy, thyroid surgery, or eye surgery. You and your doctor will also work to get your thyroid level into a normal range. If you are a smoker, your doctor will advise you to stop. Smoking will make your symptoms worse.
To help reduce dryness and discomfort, you can use saline eye drops (artificial tears) during the day. And at night use an eye ointment or gel. Wearing glasses or sunglasses will help protect your eyes from light, cold, and wind. Raising the head of your bed at night will also help reduce your symptoms.
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Current as of:
January 24, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineDavid C.W. Lau MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Current as of: January 24, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & David C.W. Lau MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
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