Graves’ disease, or thyroid eye disease, can occur in people with a history of thyroid problems. Symptoms may be mild at the beginning, but without intervention, thyroid eye disease can progress and eventually result in total loss of vision. If you take medication to regulate your thyroid levels and have experienced irritation of the eye or feelings of pressure in the your eye sockets, you may be suffering from thyroid eye disease. There are many options for treatment, ranging from eye drops and prescription medication to surgical intervention, depending on your particular symptoms.
With over 27 years of experience, Dr. Geoffrey M. Kwitko, M.D., treats thyroid eye disease in patients throughout the Lakeland, FL area. He has earned international recognition as an oculoplastic surgeon through his practice and his work as editor-in-chief of the Electronic Journal of the Neuro-Ophthalmic Surgical Society.
The most common symptoms of thyroid eye disease are retraction or sagging of the eyelids, difficulty closing the eyes completely, excessive eye watering or dryness, chronic redness, eye bulging, double vision, light sensitivity, and feelings of pressure in the eye sockets. These symptoms can create significant discomfort for sufferers of Graves’ disease, as well as give an undesirable appearance to the eyes.
Early intervention can make a great deal of difference in terms of patient comfort and treatment outcomes, so it is important that sufferers consult with a knowledgeable oculoplastic surgeon who can evaluate the degree to which the disease has progressed and determine the best course of treatment. A clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of South Florida, Dr. Kwitko employs the most up-to-date research and advanced surgical techniques and equipment in each procedure.
For mild to moderate cases of thyroid eye disease, eyelid retraction surgery is often necessary to enable to the patient to close his or her eyes more easily, helping the eyes stay hydrated and reducing irritation to the cornea. This also improves the appearance of the eyelids and surrounding areas. This is an outpatient procedure performed under local anesthetic, and recovery time is minimal.
In more advanced cases, where tissue has swollen to the point that it is putting pressure on the optical nerve and the patient’s vision may be threatened, ocular decompression surgery can help relieve pressure by moving the bones surrounding the eye area. While ocular decompression surgery is also an outpatient procedure, it is usually performed under general anesthesia.
If you have a history of thyroid problems and are experiencing eye discomfort, it is important that you speak to a knowledgeable oculoplastic surgeon with experience treating thyroid eye disease.