Thyroid eye disease (also known as Grave’s Disease) is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder that affects the tissues of the orbit (i.e. eyelids, eye muscles, orbital fat, and other soft tissues around the eyes.) Thyroid eye disease can develop and affect patients with varying degrees of severity. Most people with thyroid eye disease will have a history of over or underactive thyroid condition. However, some patients will lack such history but are at risk of developing such condition later in their lives. Surgical and non-surgical treatments exist to manage the complications of this condition, including compressive optic neuropathy, which can cause significant visual loss, eyelid malposition or retraction, ocular proptosis (bulging eyes), and double vision.
For example, orbital decompression removes some bone in the orbit to allow inflamed and enlarged orbital tissue to prolapse into the sinuses, relieving the pressure on the optic nerve in an attempt to restore, or at least maintain, visual function lost from compressive optic neuropathy. Eye muscle surgeries are sometimes offered 6-12 months after the condition has stabilized to reduce double vision. Prism glasses are sometimes utilized to help with double vision in the interim. Eyelid retraction surgery can improve chronic irritation from incomplete closure of the eyelids.