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How are eye problems related to Graves' disease treated?

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Graves' ophthalmopathy, or eye problems related to your Graves’ disease, tends to get better after a few years. Artificial tears, gels, and ointments can go a long way toward easing dryness. If you have a lot of swelling -- especially if it leads to double vision or loss of vision -- you might need to take a steroid called prednisone for a few weeks to bring the swelling down.

But you may have eye issues that require surgery. For example, you might need surgery to ease pain and pressure on your optic nerve, fix the alignment of your eye muscles, or make sure your eyelids cover and protect your eyes. Or your doctor may recommend surgery to remove some tissue from your eye socket or radiation therapy, where high-energy X-rays are aimed at the eye muscle.

American Thyroid Association: "Graves' Disease," "Hyperthyroidism (Overactive)."

New England Journal of Medicine: "Graves’ Ophthalmopathy."

Medical Clinics of North America: "The Evaluation and Treatment of Graves Ophthalmopathy."

University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center: "Thyroid Eye Disease (TED or Graves Eye Disease)."

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on January 18, 2021

American Thyroid Association: "Graves' Disease," "Hyperthyroidism (Overactive)."

New England Journal of Medicine: "Graves’ Ophthalmopathy."

Medical Clinics of North America: "The Evaluation and Treatment of Graves Ophthalmopathy."

University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center: "Thyroid Eye Disease (TED or Graves Eye Disease)."

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on January 18, 2021

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Why do people with Graves' disease have eye issues?

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