Graves’ Ophthalmopathy (Thyroid Eye Disease)

Those suffering from hyperthyroidism may find they also experience Graves’ Ophthalmopathy, also called thyroid eye disease. Although this condition is uncomfortable and has a range of distinctive symptoms, prompt care can help you manage its effects and reduce risk to your vision.

Graves' Ophthalmopathy (Thyroid Eye Disease)


Graves’ Ophthalmopathy arises as a result of hyperthyroidism, an unhealthy increased activity in the thyroid gland. This gland, located in the neck, produces thyroid hormone. In the right amounts, it is essential to metabolism. When too much thyroid hormone is produced, however, it leads to an immune system response that can cause symptoms throughout the body. Graves’ Ophthalmopathy can occur before, during or after hyperthyroidism is detectable.


The primary symptom of thyroid eye disease is the swelling of muscle and tissue behind the eyes, which typically causes the eyeballs to stick out further than normal. The condition has a wide range of symptoms. For any given patient, not all of them may appear.

Some common symptoms include:

  • Itchy, dry and irritated eyes, which may water;
  • A “bug-eyed” appearance;
  • Sensitivity to light;
  • Pressure or pain around the eyes;
  • Difficulty closing the eyes completely;
  • Double vision, particularly when looking to either side.

In rare cases, the symptoms are caused by tissue inflammation around the eyes – known as acute inflammatory thyroid eye disease. Pain tends to be more severe and noticeable when the eyes are moved from side to side or up and down. Severe swelling can occur in the eyelids, around the eyes and in the membrane that lines the eyelid and covers the eyeballs.

Treatments & Recovery

Graves’ Ophthalmopathy treatment begins with a comprehensive eye examination. It is essential to ensure that there are no co-occurring or underlying problems that may complicate the situation. The usual course of a case of thyroid eye disease lasts between one and four months.

A wide range of medication can reduce swelling and may accelerate recovery. In very serious cases, surgery is preferred. This is appropriate when there is a risk of severe vision problems or nerve damage in the eyes. Surgery can help change the appearance of the eyes.

It is critical to undergo primary care for the thyroid issue at the same time as vision care.

Vision Care Specialists Can Help You with Thyroid Eye Disease Treatment

If you believe you might need Graves’ disease surgery in Denver, it is important to seek care. At Vision Care Specialists, we have years of experience in eye treatments using the latest techniques and technology. Our team will provide you with world-class care and service that will leave you confident about your treatment.

To find out more, contact us or visit one of our locations in Denver, CO, and surrounding areas.