Eye Swelling And Redness
Thyroid eye disease causes lots of inflammation, including in the soft tissue in and around your eyes and eyelids. You might get pain and pressure along with:
- Redness or bloodshot eyes
- Swelling in the white parts of your eye
- Puffy tissue around your eyes
Your doctor might suggest at-home remedies or give you medicine to ease swelling and other symptoms.
Causes Of Thyroid Eye Disease
Doctors do not fully understand what causes TED. Some patients may have a genetic predisposition to developing it. That doesn’t mean they will develop the disease, but they may if the gene gets triggered by other factors.
Several factors are linked with a higher risk of developing TED:
Certain health conditions Patients with conditions such as Graves disease, type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis may be more likely to develop TED.
Family history Patients who have a family member with TED or another autoimmune disease may be more likely to develop it.
Smoking Patients who smoke have a higher risk of developing this disease than non-smokers.
Radioactive iodine therapy This common treatment for hyperthyroidism increases the risk of developing TED.
Women also are more likely than men to be diagnosed with thyroid eye disease, and they make up 86% of all cases, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology . TED occurs most commonly in middle-aged women.
As reported in the Review of Ophthalmology, about 80% of patients who develop the condition have an overactive thyroid that produces too much thyroid hormone, such as with Graves disease. But about 10% of patients have an underactive thyroid that produces too little thyroid hormone. And up to 10% of patients may have normal thyroid function and no diagnosed thyroid disease.
Other Types Of Treatment
If you develop double vision , you may be referred to a specialist health professional who manages problems with eye muscles . They may give you modified glasses that block off vision from one eye or put a special cover, called a prism, over one side to stop the diplopia.
Treatment using radiation may be used in some places on some people. The aim is to reduce the swelling in the eye. It is used alongside other forms of treatment.
A number of new treatments are being investigated.
Your doctors will also treat any abnormality of thyroid function with antithyroid medicines. This is usually with tablets but may also include radioactive iodine or, uncommonly, surgery to the thyroid gland. We know that good control of the thyroid function helps lessen the severity of thyroid eye disease. See the separate leaflet called Antithyroid Medicines.
Feeling Down Or Depressed
Hypothyroidism is linked to depression. The reasons for this are unclear, but it might be a mental symptom of an overall decrease in energy and health .
64% of women and 57% of men with hypothyroidism report feelings of depression. About the same percentage of men and women also experience anxiety .
In one study, thyroid hormone replacement improved depression in patients with mild hypothyroidism, compared to a placebo .
Another study of young women with mild hypothyroidism showed increased feelings of depression, which were also connected to decreased satisfaction with their sex lives (
Feeling depressed is a good reason to talk to a physician or therapist. They may be able to help you cope, regardless of whether the depression is caused by thyroid problems or something else.
Summary: Hypothyroidism can cause depression and anxiety. These conditions are shown to improve with thyroid hormone replacement.
Regular Eye Exams And Thyroid Eye Disease
Getting regular eye exams helps keep your eyes healthy and allows your doctor to spot any eye changes early. Catching a serious condition such as thyroid eye disease early may help mitigate or prevent serious damage that could result in vision loss.
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When To See An Eye Doctor
Puffy eyes are not an emergency, but they can be mistaken for swollen eyelids, which may have a serious underlying medical cause.;
Therefore, its a good idea to schedule an exam with your eye doctor to determine whether you have puffy eyes or swollen eyelids and the most effective treatment for it.
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? See our Swollen Eyelid FAQs
Schedule an exam
What If Your Doctor Will Not Do The Tests
You would think your doctor would be understanding and want to help, but it is not uncommon for doctors to refuse to do tests other than TSH. Please know that TSH alone is never an accurate indicator of your thyroid function. And, if your doctor doesnt know how to interpret the full panel of tests, you need a new doctor. If you are desperate for help and to get a better understanding of your issues, and your own doctor will not test you; for these things, you can still get the tests done if you can afford it. I have purchased bloodwork tests online in the past from a few different websites and the one I trust the most, is DHAlab.com. You can purchase the tests by yourself from your home and the prices are better than most sites Ive used in the past. Then, they receive your order and process it and they have a doctor sign off on it as the ordering physician. You then get an email and I believe it will have what is called a requisition form in it to print off. You will then go to your local LabCorp location to have the blood drawn. DHAlabs will email you the results. If you have an account with LabCorp as well, they will notify you when the results are uploaded too. It usually takes about a week. You can order individual tests or a panel of tests.
They have a Basic Thyroid Panel for $98 and it covers: TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Total T4
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When Should I Seek Medical Attention For My Puffy Eyes
Eye swelling can be a sign of a serious problem. When the swelling is persistent, medical attention should be sought. Any time you receive a blow to the eye you should seek medical attention, even if there is no swelling. Seek medical attention immediately if the following symptoms accompany the eye swelling:
- Swelling in face and neck areas
- Redness around the eye
Some of the above are symptoms of orbital cellulitis. Although orbital cellulitis is not as common a disease as conjunctivitis, it does have devastating effects. When left untreated, it can lead to very serious complications such as a blood infection or meningitis.
If you are unable to drive yourself to the doctor, ask a relative or friend. If one is not available and you feel this is an emergency, call 911. Never attempt to drive yourself when you are experiencing vision problems.
What Other Health Problems Could I Develop Because Of Graves Disease
Without treatment, Graves disease can cause some serious health problems, including
- an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related problems
- an eye disease called Graves ophthalmopathy or Graves orbitopathy , which can cause double vision, light sensitivity, and eye painand, rarely, can lead to vision loss
- thinning bones and osteoporosis
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Puffy Eyelids And Swollen Fingers:
Q. Most mornings I awake with extremely puffy eyelids; often my fingers are swollen as well. It takes several hours for this to recede, and the heaviness of my eyelids makes me feel very tired.
My doctor prescribed a diuretic that I take occasionally for the swelling. I worry that I will lose important minerals with this treatment. Is there another alternative?
Controlling dietary factors does not affect the swelling. What could be causing it? I am physically active and maintain a nutritious diet.
A. Ask your doctor to test your thyroid function. Puffy eyelids and swollen hands and feet can be symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland. Plastic surgeons may refer to the eyelids as festoons or secondary bags . When the underlying hypothyroidism is diagnosed and corrected, many patients no longer needed their eyelids lifted.
Coping With Changes To Your Appearance
It is well known that TED can affect your psychological and social well-being. You may feel anger, loss of self-esteem or confidence, or socially isolated, because of the change in the appearance of your eyes. Your mood can also be affected by medications you may be taking, such as steroids. TED can change your facial appearance and alter your expression which may affect the way people react to you which, understandably, can be difficult to cope with. Treatment, which may include surgery, can often improve this; and counselling, or contact with others who have TED, can help you find coping strategies.
Some of the following organisations might be helpful:
- Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust ;can help put you in touch with other people who have had similar experiences which is often helpful.;
- The;British Thyroid Foundation;has a network of telephone support volunteers that can help. They also have closed Facebook groups for people with TED. You can email them at if you would like their support.;
- The charity Changing Faces also offers a support service for anyone experiencing a condition or injury that affects their appearance.;
- Our Counselling and Wellbeing team can offer telephone counselling to anyone affected by sight loss or an eye condition.
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Filling In Patchy Sparse Eyebrow Hair
Another physical change related to hypothyroidism involves the eyebrows both overall thinning and losing all the hair in the outer third of the brows.
Makeup can help here: Use a brow pencil in a shade that matches your natural hair color to fill out and extend your brow line, drawing individual hairs with the pencils sharp point.
Most beauty stores sell eyebrow kits containing a variety of products and tools that can create a natural look.
Trouble Concentrating Or Remembering
Many patients with hypothyroidism complain of mental fogginess and trouble concentrating. The way this mental fogginess presents itself varies by person.
In one study, 22% of low-thyroid individuals described increased difficulty doing everyday math, 36% described thinking more slowly than usual and 39% reported having a poorer memory .
In another study of 14 men and women with untreated hypothyroidism, the participants showed difficulty remembering verbal cues .
The causes for this are not yet fully understood, but difficulties in memory improve with treatment of low thyroid hormone .
Difficulties in memory or concentration can happen to everyone, but if they are sudden or severe, they could be a signal of hypothyroidism.
Summary: Hypothyroidism can cause mental fogginess and difficulty concentrating. It may also impair certain kinds of memory.
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What Is Thyroid Eye Disease
Thyroid eye disease is an autoimmune condition affecting the eyes that is associated with Graves disease. Graves disease is an autoimmune thyroid condition where the bodys immune system produces auto-antibodies that activate receptors in the thyroid gland causing it to produce too much thyroid hormone . This immune response against the thyroid gland can sometimes also affect the eyes as in thyroid eye disease.
What Are The Symptoms Of Graves Disease
You may have common symptoms of hyperthyroidism such as
- fast and irregular heartbeat
- trouble sleeping
- weight loss
Rarely, people with Graves disease develop a reddish thickening of the skin on the shins, a condition called pretibial myxedema or Graves dermopathy. This skin problem is usually painless and mild, but it can be painful for some.
GO can cause retracted eyelids, meaning the eyelids are pulled back from the eye. GO can also cause bulging eyes, double vision, and swelling around the eyes.
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Is Graves Disease During Pregnancy A Problem
Thyroid hormone levels that are just a little high are usually not a problem in pregnancy. However, more severe hyperthyroidism that isnt treated can affect both the mother and the baby. If you have Graves disease, be sure your hyperthyroidism is under control before becoming pregnant. Learn more about causes, diagnosis, and treatment of hyperthyroidism during pregnancy.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Thyroid Eye Disease
Early symptoms of thyroid eye disease are itching, watering or dry eyes and a feeling of grittiness of the eyes. Some people may notice a swelling around the eyelids and sometimes the front of the eye becomes swollen. The eyelids may become uneven in size and they may seem to sit further back on the eyeballs . Patients may experience prominent or protruding eyes , and in more advanced cases, double vision.Rarely, patients may not be able to completely close their eyes due to protrusion of the eyeball. This exposes the cornea to damage from dirt, causing reduced vision. Sometimes the swelling at the back of the eyes can press on the nerve behind the eye causing pain, washed out colour vision and reduced vision which, if untreated, can lead to blindness.
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What Are My Treatment Options For Graves Disease
You have three treatment options: medicine, radioiodine therapy, and thyroid surgery. Radioiodine therapy is the most common treatment for Graves disease in the United States,4 but doctors are beginning to use medicine more often than in the past.5,6 Based on factors such as your age, whether you are pregnant, or whether you have other medical conditions, your doctor may recommend a specific treatment and can help you decide which one is right for you.
Diagnosing The Cause Of Bulging Eyes
If you develop eye bulging in one or both eyes, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Be prepared to share your complete medical history with them, including a list of any prescription or over-the-counter medications and supplements that you take.
Theyll also want to know the specifics of your symptoms, such as:
- When did you first notice that your eyes were bulging?
- Have they gotten worse since that time?
- Do you have any other symptoms, especially headaches or visual changes?
After conducting a physical exam, your doctor may order one or more tests. For example, these may include:
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How Can The Thyroid Gland Affect The Eyes
Thyroid disorders, either with elevated hormone level or a depressed hormone level , can affect the eyes. Statistically an under active thyroid gland is more common, which may contribute to increase tired, worn-out appearance and wrinkles.
For some thyroid patients, especially with hyperthyroidism, under eye bags are increased. In advanced cases, the eyes may appear ;to bulge out of their head.
Most plastic surgeons performing eyelid surgery will evaluate for thyroid condition, in conjunction with the patients primary physician, prior to any facial cosmetic surgery. It is very difficult to determine, however, how much of ones appearance is specifically due to thyroid condition vs. normal aging vs. genetics, or other factors.
Myth No : Youll Need Iodine Supplements For Thyroid Disease
The facts:;You may hear that its important to take iodine supplements;when you have thyroid disease.
Advertisers make this claim because iodine deficiency is the leading cause of thyroid disease around the world.
But in the United States, we get plenty of iodine from our diet .
I do not recommend iodine supplements, says Dr. Kellis. In fact, they can actually make your thyroid disease worse.
The bottom line? Dont believe everything you hear about thyroid disease and its treatment.
And if youre concerned about symptoms, talk to your doctor to get the help you need, whether its for thyroid disease or a different problem.
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Eye Problems Associated With Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism includes any medical condition that results in abnormally low thyroid hormone levels.Autoimmune disease, insufficient dietary iodine, surgery, inadequate stimulation of the thyroid gland and treatment for certain diseases can lead to hypothyroidism. Eye problems may develop in some people with hypothyroidism. Accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause of decreased thyroid function is an important factor in determining the appropriate therapy for eye problems associated with hypothyroidism.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
What Are The Treatments And Home Remedies For Puffy Eyes
For normal puffy eyes that are not caused by other eye conditions, there are many ways to reduce the swelling. The following is a list of ways to treat puffy eyes:
- Wash face with ice cold water
- Ice or cold packs
- Increase vitamin and mineral intake
- Drink plenty of water to clean out your system
- If puffy eyes are caused by allergies, discontinue using the item that causes the allergic reaction; doctors may also provide shots or prescribe medication
- Cream for puffy eyes: Try a soothing eye cream with aloe and Vitamin E; also look into certain products such as Revitalume and Swanson Creams Vitamin K cream
- Eye masks to apply mild pressure to the eyelids at night
You may have noticed that common cucumber and tea bag treatment methods are not mentioned here. This is because these items are not recommended by eye care professionals. Cucumbers are over 90 percent water, and the rest is mainly inert fiber.
Although cucumbers do reduce puffy eyes, it is the coldness of the cucumber that does the trick, not the cucumber itself. Coldness is known to constrict blood vessels, which reduces the flow of fluid into soft tissues.
Eye care professionals recommend using a washcloth dipped in cold water, which has the same effect. The reason cucumbers are not recommended is that food sometimes contains bacteria. Putting a possible bacteria source directly onto the eyes can lead to eye infections. The same is true of tea bags.
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