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Thyroid Eye Disease


Surgically Correcting Thyroid Eye Disease: What to Expect

By Jonathan Trobe, M.D. - University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center Thyroid eye disease (also known as TED) is a condition that causes the muscle and tissue of the eye socket to swell. The swelling can cause redness, pain, puffiness, and bulging eyes, and patients may experience decreased vision and increased pressure in the eye socket.

Additionally, as eye muscles tighten, they may push the eyes forward in their sockets, restricting movement and causing double vision. Dr. Dustin Heringer and Dr. William McLeish provide several procedures to relieve symptoms of thyroid eye disease at our Scottsdale, AZ, practice, helping patients restore their vision and resume a normal lifestyle.

What Is Thyroid Eye Disease?

Thyroid disease causes the white blood cells that normally protect and defend the body to start attacking healthy tissue. This immune system disorder eventually affects the thyroid gland, which produces too much thyroid hormone.

Thyroid eye disease, also known as Graves’ opthalmopathy, results when white blood cells attack the tissue around the eyes, causing swelling and inflammation. The disease has two phases: the active phase and the stable phase. During the active phase, inflammation and swelling reach their peak, and medical treatment remains focused on relieving symptoms. This phase can last up to two years.

During the stable phase, inflammation and swelling subside, and the doctor can perform surgery to correct any visible effects of the disease and restore visual function.

Active Thyroid Eye Disease

During the active phase of the disease, the doctor can help you alleviate symptoms in a number of ways:

  • He may offer medicated eye drops and anti-inflammatory steroids.
  • Swelling may prevent you from fully closing your eyes, resulting in corneal ulcers that can cause vision loss. Your doctor can show you how to make dressings to place over your eyes while you sleep, to trap moisture and prevent the dryness that causes corneal ulcers.
  • The doctor may recommend a reduced amount of salt in your diet.
  • The doctor may recommend sleeping with your head raised, to control swelling.
You can rest assured that we are committed to restoring your visual acuity as well as the aesthetics of your eyes.

Benefits of Treating Stable Thyroid Eye Disease

Once swelling has subsided, your doctor can perform a series of surgical procedures to correct bulging, double vision, and physical changes that have occurred in the eyes. By correcting these conditions, you can enjoy improved vision with less discomfort. He will perform the surgeries in stages, with two to four months between each procedure, giving your eyes time to heal properly. Some patients may see the results they desire after one surgery, but most patients require more than one. Dr. Heringer will evaluate your unique condition and determine which cosmetic surgeries will improve your appearance. Patients often benefit from facelifts and blepharoplasty, which tighten loose skin on the face, neck, and eye area, allowing you to appear younger. Also, a variety of skin treatments and injectables can reduce signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines around the eyes, which can dramatically enhance the appearance of thyroid eye disease post-treatment. 

Schedule Your Consultation

Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled doctors. You can rest assured that we are committed to restoring your visual acuity as well as the aesthetics of your eyes.

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