AutoImmune Watch

I have been hearing a lot recently from friends and colleagues about auto-immune disorders.

Eye health is right up there when it comes to medical concerns around our immune systems. There are many different names you might find for the autoimmune eye condition that is often seen with thyroid disease, including:

Thyroid Eye Disease, sometimes abbreviated as TED

Thyroid-associated orbitopathy (TAO)

Graves' Opthamolopathy

Grave's orbitopathy

Thyroid Eye Disease is an autoimmune eye condition that, while separate from thyroid disease, is often seen hand in hand with Graves' Disease. The condition, however, is seen in people with no other evidence of thyroid dysfunction, and occasionally in patients who have Hashimoto's Disease. Most thyroid patients, however, will not develop thyroid eye disease, and if so, only mildly so.

What you should be aware of :

Signs and symptoms of thyroid eye disease include: Dryness, itching, dry eyes, difficulty wearing contact lenses, pain in the eyes, pain when looking up, down or sideways ,Inflammation and swelling of the eye and its surrounding tissues, swelling in the orbital tissues which causes the eye to be pushed forward referred to as exophthalmos which can make Thyroid Eye Disease sufferers appear to have a wide-eyed or bulging stare, double vision (doctors call it diplopia) also a bloodshot appearance to eyes , impaired  general vision.

Thyroid Eye Disease is known to go through varying degrees of severity, and can also go into periods of remission as well. When it has been inactive for a period of around a half a year, it's less likely to recur. Treatments for Thyroid Eye Disease range from lubricating eyedrops and ointments to, in very rare cases, surgery. In a very small percentage of patients, orbital decompression may be called for.