Dry eye disease is a widespread and common issue for up to 49 million Americans. This chronic condition can have a significant impact on your quality of life, causing a foreign body sensation in your eyes, pain, blurry vision, and dry or watery eyes. Untreated, it can even lead to further eye health complications.
"The definition and classification of dry eye disease: report of the Definition and Classification Subcommittee of the International Dry Eye WorkShop"
The Ocular Surface 2007;5(2):75-92. PMID# 17508116
DEWS: Dry Eye WorkShop 2007
Is poor dark adaptation a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration?
Autoimmune hyperthyroidism is the most common autoimmune disease in the USA. It is an inflammatory autoimmune disease with an unclear mechanism. Between 25 and 50% of these patients will develop thyroid eye disease. The eye is susceptible to attack because the autoantibodies target common receptors found within the thyroid gland, eye, and skin. Thyroid eye disease is identified based on clinical signs, supported with laboratory studies, and imaging.
Thyroid eye disease is the leading cause of bilateral proptosis (eye bulging), lid retraction (eyelid malpositioning), and double vision in adults. It may be associated with a goiter, skin inflammation, bowing of nails, and even congestive heart failure. Fluctuations in thyroid status may aggravate thyroid eye disease leading to permanent changes in appearance and vision loss.
In the eye, this disease may lead to fat expansion, muscle expansion, or both. Early detection is key because muscle expansion is a permanent change that cannot be fixed with medications and surgery.
Thyroid eye disease is often described by an active or inflammatory phase followed by a stable phase. Although the disease course limits itself between 6 months to 2 years, it is often a roller coaster of exacerbation and remissions. The disease course is independent of thyroid function so it is important to follow up with your endocrinologist early.
In other words, there is a point of no return: once you get thyroid eye disease, despite control of your thyroid by your endocrinologist, signs or symptoms in the eye may continue to worsen. If identified, mild thyroid eye disease is often followed on a 3 to 6-month basis and symptoms of discomfort are treated. If the disease progresses, referral to an ophthalmologist specializing in oculoplastics is warranted with monthly follow-up.
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We are Dr. Kevin Grant and Dr. Benjamin Szu. We will be bringing cutting-edge knowledge directly to this community -- open and free!
The vast majority of our discussions will be analyzing and discussing peer-reviewed journal articles in the scientific literature. Our goal will be to evaluate new and old technologies and information -- cutting straight to the point. Through this, we hope to give the highest quality of care to our patients --preserving our patients' eye health while correcting vision to that sharp 20/20 we all deserve!
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Dr. Grant and Dr. Szu
Disclaimer: This is for medical education only. This is not intending to be medical advice or direct medical decision-making. Please ask your doctor for all eye care-related questions you may have.