Thyroid Eye Disease is an inflammatory condition which affects the orbital contents including the extraocular muscles and orbital fat. It is almost always associated with Graves’ disease (GD) but may rarely be seen in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, primary hypothyroidism, or thyroid cancer. The ocular manifestations of Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) include soft tissue inflammation, eyelid retraction, proptosis, corneal exposure, and optic nerve compression.
The signs and symptoms of the thyroid eye disease are characteristic. These include lid retraction, lid lag, and a delay in the downward excursion of the upper eyelid in down gaze that is specific to TED.
Thyroid Eye Disease is also called: Graves’ Opthalmopathy,Thyroid Associated Orbitophaty, Graves’ Orbithopathy, Graves’ Eye Disease, Proptosis, Exophthalmos, Eye protrusion, which pretty much means the same thing- just different medical terms- so don’t get confused!
Thyroid Eye Disease affects approximately 1 million people in USA and Canada and 250,000 people in the UK. Although blindness is a dreaded complication, fortunately only a small minority of patients require surgery or other medical treatment to protect their vision. The majority of patients with Thyroid Eye Disease however appear to suffer silently trying to come to terms with the facial disfigurement that is caused by the disease. It is particularly unkind, distorting the most expressive, vivid and ageless feature of the face, the eyes.
Many patients with Thyroid eye disease are unable to face the world, they don’t want to look at the mirror any more and avoid social contacts as much as they can. Relationships break down, jobs are lost, depression sets in and life changes for the worse. These patients are really desperate, they lost a hope that they will ever get better and the consequences in their everyday life are severe.
Significant advances in the medical and surgical treatment of Thyroid Eye Disease have been achieved over the last few years. However the psychological and social aspects of the disease are largely neglected. Recent studies show that patients with moderate to severe Graves’ Disease ophthalmopathy have significant mood disturbance, especially when disfiguring signs are predominant.
The choices now-a-days, available for treating Thyroid Eye Disease and it’s symptoms like bulging eyes, double vision, and protruded eyes can be summarized as follows:
1. Cold compress on your eyes
2.Elevating head to relieve swelling
3. Flax seed oil/ Organic Flax seeds
4. Lubrication eye drops (avoid the one that are treating red eyes)
5. Lubrication ointments
6. Exercises to strengthen the eye muscles
7. Humidifiers in your room
8. Wear good sunglasses that are really protecting your eyes (not the ones that you buy for $ 5, because they are not really protecting your eyes from anything)
9. Corrective surgery to loosen the eyelids
10. Decompression surgery
11. Steroids and prisms (to correct double vision)
The last 3 are used only in severe cases where nothing else can help. Many people report improvement of double vision, after applying special eye exercise for a short period of time.
There are also a lot of reports showing that Flax Seed oil can help your Thyroid Eye Disease tremendously and you can see results in 1 or 2 weeks, especially if you have mild TED symptoms, and even in some severe cases.
Flaxseed oil is the most abundant plant source of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid omega-3. The seeds and oil of the flax plant contain substances which are known to promote good health. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential fatty acid that appears to be beneficial for a lot of diseases. ALA belongs to a group of substances called omega-3 fatty acids.