Graves disease is an autoimmune disease which forces the thyroid into an over-production of thyroid hormones and causes problems to your eyes. Some of these effects are only symptoms of Graves disease and not as harsh as its actual eye disorder, Graves Ophthalmopathy.
How Does Graves Disease Affect The Eyes
1. Bulging Eyes
The eyes become a target to the autoimmune disease which attacks the eye muscles and connective tissue within the eye socket leading to swelling and inflammation. This inflammation causes the tissues to swell and creates a protrusion or bulging of the eyes. The protrusion in the eye can cause even more problems because it can stretch the optic nerve leading to altered visions such as blurriness and color blindness. If not treated properly, the vision impairment could be permanent.
2. Eyelid Swelling and Redness
This inflammation also causes the eyes and eyelids to redden. Your eyelids fail to cover your eyes and constantly exposes the cornea to the environment. This constant exposure is dangerous because it can introduce dust and particles to your eye and cause an infection.
3. Light Sensitivity
Light sensitivity or photophobia is one of the mild eye symptoms of Graves disease. Your eyes are more vulnerable to ultraviolet rays and more sensitive to sunlight because of this autoimmune condition. It is suggested to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and hard winds since your eyelids may be unable to cover your eyes.
4. Limited Eye Movement
The swelling may affect the muscles and cause eye soreness and fatigue, as well as the inability to move the eyes in different directions. Due to the swelling, the eye tissues has no place to go but outward which limits the eye movement. You usually start having difficulty with upward eye rotation and then later with horizontal eye movements. These limitations in motility are usually associated with diplopia or double vision. There are also times when you’ll have no ocular motility at all.
5. Graves Ophthalmopathy
— Dr. Kent Holtorf (@HoltorfMed) March 22, 2017
Graves Ophthalmopathy is more severe than the eyes symptoms of Graves disease and hyperthyroidism. It’s also referred to as Graves eye disease or thyroid eye disease and it’s when your autoimmune condition makes immune cells attack the thyroid gland which creates excess secretion of thyroid hormone. The symptoms of Graves disease are worse than the eye symptoms mentioned beforehand and it’s important to consult your doctor in case you might already have a thyroid eye disease.
Watch this video from OSU Wexner Medical Center to find out what are some treatment options for thyroid eye disease!
Graves disease is an underlying autoimmune condition which affects both tissues of the thyroid gland and the eyes. Make sure to speak with your doctor about the possibility of Graves disease and what you can do about it to start treatment immediately.
Have you had any of these Graves disease symptoms? Share your experience with us in the comments below!
UP NEXT: 7 tips for taking care of your thyroid. Taking care of your thyroids can help prevent these symptoms and lower the chances of Graves disease turning into hyperthyroidism. Do some of these to prevent having eye problems from Graves disease!