Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
What can be done about exophthalmos? I have double vision and was diagnosed with thyroiditis/hyperthyroidism.

Answer:
If you have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and have double vision and exophthalmos (bulging eye) you likely have Graves' disease or Thyroid Eye Disease. This is a complex autoimmune disease where the body develops antibodies to the soft tissues behind the eyes (as well as the shins and fingers sometimes) causing these tissues to swell and become stiff. This is why your eye is bulging and not moving as well as it did before.

To start, if you are a smoker, stop smoking! You should be under the care of an internist or endocrinologist who is normalizing your thyroid hormone levels. Additionally, your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) may start you on oral selenium, an antioxidant available over the counter. This may improve the symptoms of your disease. If your symptoms worsen, steroids (oral or IV) or even surgery may be needed eventually to reverse many of the changes of this condition. This condition usually lasts two to three years so be patient and work with your Eye M.D. ophthalmologist and internist or endocrinologist to improve your signs and symptoms as the disease runs its course.

Answered by: Rona Silkiss, MD Dr. Rona Silkiss

Categories: Eye Diseases

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Answered: Feb 27, 2013

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