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What Toll is Graves’ Disease Taking on Your Eyes?

Graves’ eye disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing an excess production of thyroid hormones. As a result, the body’s metabolism increases, resulting in high blood pressure, fatigue, heart palpitations, weight loss, and even loss of hair. However, Graves’ disease particularly affects the eyes because it also causes the immune system to attack the delicate muscles and connective tissues around the eye. Needless to say, the subsequent inflammation and swelling around the eyes can start to affect vision and eye movement if left untreated.


If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with Graves’ disease, do not wait to schedule a consultation with a skilled oculoplastic surgeon to help determine the best course of treatment. Call Taban MD at (310) 499-2565 or fill out our online contact form today!

How Graves’ Disease Affects Your Eyes

Many patients with Graves’ disease experience redness, swelling, and irritation around the eyes at some point, it does not necessarily cause significant or permanent eye problems. The most common eye complications that can occur from Graves’ disease will typically go away with proper treatment for the disease. But some problems do not go away.  The complications include:

Bulging eyes – The swollen tissue around the eye can push them forward beyond the normal position in the eye socket, which is known as exophthalmos. If the protrusion is severe enough, it can be difficult to blink or close the eye completely or keep the eye moisturized, which may lead to dryness, irritation, and redness. The bulging may even cause over-tearing as the eyes attempt to protect the surface of the eye from dryness. The treatment of bulging protruding eyes is orbital decompression surgery, where the orbit (eye socket) is made larger by removing some bone and fat to allow the eyeball to go back.

Double vision – If the muscles that control the eye movements get affected, that can reduce a person’s ability to control their eye movements, resulting in double vision (diplopia).  Sometime strabismus surgery is necessary to correct this.

Pressure on the Optic Nerve – In rare cases, if exophthalmos is severe enough, the swollen muscles will press against the optic nerve that connects the eyes to the brain, interfering with a person’s ability to see. Fortunately this is rare. If it does occur, orbital decompression surgery can help reduce the pressure on the optic nerves.

Get Professional Treatment for Bulgy Eyes

For more information 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 in greater Los Angeles area. Dr. Taban is an expert and experienced orbital and eyelid surgeon. Who can discuss potential treatment options, such as orbital decompression surgery, eyelid retraction surgery, blepharoplasty, and/or injectable treatments, to help restore function and appearance of the eyes. Call now!