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What is Graves’ Disease?

Before and after left upper lid retraction surgery and right upper lid ptosis surgery

Graves’ disease, also known as Graves’ ophthalmopathy or thyroid eye disease, is an autoimmune system disorder that affects the thyroid, resulting in an overproduction of thyroid hormones. The thyroid hormones are responsible for regulating growth and function in other systems of the body. Depending on the severity of the disease, an individual may suffer only eyelid or orbital symptoms without also developing hyperthyroidism, which affects various other parts of the body, as well as mood and concentration.

At Taban MD, we take a multidisciplinary approach to treating patients suffering from Graves’ disease, treating not only the symptoms that affect the eyes, but also targeting the underlying thyroid problem through collaboration with other specialties. We begin with conservative treatment options, such as eye drops and medication, before moving forward with surgical options in order to prevent excessive treatment. Contact us online or by calling 877.697.4586 to schedule an initial consultation with our exceptional team.

Common Symptoms of Graves’ Disease

Thyroid eye disease can cause varying levels of symptoms, from mild to severe. In many cases, the symptoms will gradually become more apparent over the course of a year, reaching a stage called “burning out,” where surgical treatment options may be performed. The most common thyroid eye disease symptoms include:

  • Eyelid swelling
  • Irritated, dry eyes
  • Tearing
  • Protruded or bulgy eyes (proptosis)
  • Double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Pain or pressure in the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Vision loss

Seek medical attention if you notice any potential thyroid-related symptoms in order to get an accurate diagnosis and timely treatment.

Treating Thyroid Orbitopathy (Thyroid Eye Disease)

Depending on the extent of the disease and symptoms, thyroid orbitopathy may be treated with a combination of medications, radioactive iodine therapy, and eye drops. For more severe symptoms, surgical treatment may be necessary, including:

Orbital decompression – Reduces pressure on the eye by expanding the bony eye socket (with removal of bone and fat), allowing the eyeball to return to its normal position. It is also known as bulgy eye surgery.

Eyelid Retraction Surgery – Reconstruction of the lower or upper eyelids to allow the eyelids to rest in their normal position, whether with grafts or relaxing of the upper and/or lower eyelids.

Blepharoplasty – Puffy eyes with excess skin and fat may be removed or tightened around the eyes to correct a heavy, droopy appearance and eyelid bags.

Get Professional Thyroid Eye Disease Treatment

To learn more about thyroid eye disease and which treatment options are ideal for you, contact oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Mehryar Ray Taban to schedule an initial consultation in our Beverly Hills or Santa Barbara offices. We can discuss potential treatment options, such as orbital decompression surgery, eyelid retraction surgery, blepharoplasty, and/or injectable treatments. Call now!

Next, read about What You Should Learn this Eye Injury Prevention Month