Many different medical conditions can also indirectly affect the eyes. Thyroid disorders are one of those conditions. Here is what you need to be aware of if you have a thyroid disease.
What Is The Thyroid?
The thyroid is an important gland in the body. It helps regulate your metabolism. It is located in the front of your neck, at the base of your vocal chords. The thyroid absorbs iodine from your bloodstream, which is then used to manufacture two hormones that the body needs to function properly.
What Can Go Wrong With The Thyroid?
A healthy thyroid produces the right amount of hormones. If it malfunctions, it may produce either too much or not enough hormones. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid doesn't produce enough hormones. Conversely, hyperthyroidism results from too much hormone.
Hyperthyroidism will cause unexplained weight loss, an accelerated heartbeat, hair loss, and diarrhea. A patient with hypothyroidism will present with fatigue, a sluggish digestive system, weight gain, and a heartbeat that is slower than it should be.
Who Gets Thyroid Problems?
Thyroid issues can happen at any age and in both males and females; however, it is much more common in women who are post-menopause.
What Role Does The Thyroid Play In Eye Health?
Graves' disease is a thyroid condition that usually results in hyperthyroidism. It is an autoimmune disease, which means that the antibodies your body creates turn against you and attack healthy tissues. In the case of Graves' disease, your thyroid ends up producing more hormones that you need. The antibodies that attack the thyroid can also attack the delicate tissues that make up the eye.
What Kind Of Symptoms Will Result From Thyroid Eye Issues?
A patient who has Graves' disease will typically have eyes that are protruding and appear to be bulging from their sockets. This can cause red and watery eyes, eyelid swelling, and swelling that causes the eyelid to no longer close. The swelling can also lead to putting pressure on the optic nerve, which may cause eye fatigue, blurry or double vision, or even blindness.
How Are Thyroid Related Eye Issues Treated?
The underlying thyroid disorder must be addressed and treated. Simultaneously, an ophthalmologist should be consulted for a thorough exam. The doctor will decide based on the severity and location of your symptoms what steps should be taken next. Treatment can include artificial tear drops to reduce drying, injections to reduce the pressure on the optic nerve, or surgery to repair eyelids or misaligned eye muscles.
If you have any concerns about your eye health, turn to eye doctors like California Eye Specialists Medical Group Inc. You may also want to see your primary care physician to treat any thyroid issues that affect your vision.
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