Wednesday, March 6, 2013

TED- no, i am not talking about a little teddy bear who presented at the oscars this year, and has a penchant for being naughty, i am going to try to discuss THYROID EYE DISEASE, aka, TED

in researching this subject, i found out that i really do not know that much  about TED. nor, it seems, does the medical community. TED can be present- and it is  most often diagnosed in hyperthyroid disease, namely, graves disease. it can cause extension of the eyeballs- a classic symptom. it is an autoimmune disease, that sometimes hangs out with another autoimmune disease- hashimoto's disease. hashimoto's disease is a hypothyroid condition. so, i will tell you what i have found about about TED, but i will encourage anyone experiencing eye difficulties of any sort, to please see a physician. while your doctor is the only one who can make the diagnosis, you- as always, and in all medical conditions- have the final say in your treatment.

some symptoms of TED include: dryness, a gritty feeling in the eye- you know, like you have sand or something in there, excessive watering of the eye, pain upon looking up or sideways, bulging of the eyeball, double or blurred vision, redness, irritation, sensitivity to light or wind, just to name a few. of course, some of these symptoms may be misdiagnosed as" pink eye" ( a bacterial infection)  or allergies. so how do we know?

some patients have reported that they have more TED symptoms when their thyroid hormone is too low. others may need to reduce their thyroid level dose- those with graves disease, perhaps. a visit to an ophthalmologist ( eye doctor) may be in order to obtain a diagnosis. it is good to have your thyroid level checked, as well as a thyroid-stimulating antibody test. obviously, you need to choose a physician wisely. someone with experience in  treating TED. there are other, more costly tests- CT  or MRI tests for example.

treatment depends on the stage or severity of TED. steroids are an option, but to be honest, i am not a big fan of steroids. personally, i think that steroids have multiple side effects and there is a chance that when a patient stops taking the steroid for TED symptoms, they may become worse. of course, as with ANY medication, you have to weigh the benefits versus side effects before deciding on a course of treatment. simple treatments include artificial tear drops and/or a lubricating ointment.

when i was researching this topic, i was frustrated in how little is known about this disorder. if you are a thyroid cancer patient , like me, and have received RAI as part of your treatment, then constant eye watering may be a side effect of the RAI and not necessarily TED. this constant watering may be caused by the RAI blocking a tear duct. if this is the case, a physician can possibly un-block the tear duct, and that may take care of the constant watering.

here are three more things to note: 1) TED can get better on it's own. 2) smokers are way more prone to TED than non-smokers and 3) there is a website which is supported by the Thyroid Eye Disease Association. i suggest that anyone with concerns, or who feels that they need more info on this subject check it out. the TED association goes deeper into the details of treatment, symptoms, etc, and would offer more support for those suffering from TED.

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