Problems in other areas of your body can result in strange things happening with your eyes. For example, patients that have thyroid problems often complain of various symptoms involving their eyes. One of the common complaints is eye twitching. Do thyroid disorders really cause eye twitching? Can they cause any other problems with the eye?
What is the Thyroid?
The thyroid is a large gland that is located in the neck. It produces various hormones that help to regulate and control other parts of the body. The thyroid also controls metabolism. Since the thyroid works silently people often don’t even realize that it is there unless something goes wrong and they start having problems with their thyroid.
What Problems Are Common with the Thyroid?
One of the most common thyroid problems that people encounter is called hyperthyroidism. This means that the thyroid gland is producing too much thyroid hormone. This can lead to many health issues and symptoms including nervousness, irritability, heavy sweating, changes in weight or appetite, sleep problems, fertility issues, tremors and more. Graves’ disease is one of the most common forms of hyperthyroidism. Another commonly reported symptom of hyperthyroidism is twitching of the eye.
In addition to eye twitching many patients with a thyroid disorder also develop serious eye conditions that are related to their disease. In fact there are several specific diseases that directly link eye problems and thyroid problems.
Thyroid Eye Disease
Thyroid eye disease is an eye condition that can develop prior to, at the same time or after a diagnosis of thyroid problems. In some cases it is found in patients with no other signs of thyroid troubles. Basically it is an autoimmune disorder that affects the tissue and fats around the eye. Some people with this condition report pain when moving their eyes. Others experience itchiness and irritation of the eye. One of the most common symptoms of thyroid eye disease are that the eyes bulge out from the patient’s skull.
Patients that have Graves’ disease and experience various eye problems may be suffering from a condition known as Graves’ orbitopathy. This disease is a form of thyroid eye disease and carries many of the same symptoms. One of the most common symptoms of this disease are bulging eyes.
What the Treatment Options for Thyroid Eye Disease?
When a thyroid problem is discovered there are many different treatment options. Often anti-thyroid medication is prescribed which can stop the thyroid from producing hormones or can cause the body to block the effects of these hormones. In other cases surgery may be used to remove the whole thyroid gland or the part that is overproducing. Radioactive iodine is another common treatment option.
These various treatments are used to treat thyroid disorders, but it is important to note that they do not treat the eye problems associated with thyroid eye disease. Often symptoms must be managed and treated on their own. In some cases the eye problems resolve once the thyroid problem is treated, but often they continue even after treatment for various thyroid diseases have resolved the actual hormonal imbalance.
Some patients that are experience eye irritation find that using lubricating eye drops and wearing eye covers at night can greatly increase their comfort. Using humidifiers to keep the home moist is especially beneficial for patients with dry eyes. It is also recommended that patients wear polarizing sunglasses, especially those that wrap around the head since they provide additional protection from sun glare. In some cases corrective surgery is needed to retain vision. If you have a thyroid disorder or suspect that you are suffering from thyroid eye disease it is important to see an eye doctor that specializes or understands this condition as it is often misdiagnosed.
Early Signs of Thyroid Disease
Thyroid problems can cause serious eye problems and rarely can even cause blindness down the road. If you are experiencing eye problems or any symptoms of thyroid eye disease, including twitching eyes, it is important to seek medical care and find out if you have a thyroid problem. Many people that experience thyroid eye twitching notice that it resolves once they receive thyroid treatment. Since eye problems can occur before, at the same time or after diagnosis of thyroid problems it is important to be aware of both the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and thyroid eye disease to ensure prompt treatment. Some patients with thyroid problems will never experience any problems with their eyes.
When your body is having problems they often manifest in more than one part of your body. A great example of this is thyroid diseases and their associated eye problems.