Graves’ Ophthalmopathy

What is Graves’ Ophthalmopathy?

Graves’ ophthalmopathy, also called thyroid eye disease, is an inflammatory disorder affecting the orbit around the eyes and is characterized by upper eyelid retraction, lid lag, swelling, redness (erythema), conjunctivitis, and bulging. Graves’ disease is a part of the problems caused by a hyperactive thyroid. It is an ocular disease, which if not treated in time can pose a threat to a person’s eyesight. In extreme cases of Graves’ ophthalmopathy, the eye muscles get swollen. They may put extreme pressure on the optic nerve, leading to double vision or total vision loss.


It is important to determine the presence of Graves’ ophthalmopathy. Symptoms vary from patients to patients, and some of them include:

  • Eye inflammation.
  • Eye redness.
  • Bulging eyes.
  • Eye dryness.
  • Eye sensitivity.
  • Eyelid retraction.


Graves’ ophthalmopathy is an autoimmune condition where the thyroid gland mistakenly senses malignant cells and releases antibodies to resist against those bad cells. Since there are no bad cells, the released antibodies end up fusing with muscles in the eyes, causing the onset of Graves’ ophthalmopathy.


Some risks associated with Grave’s ophthalmopathy are:

  • Periorbital swelling.
  • Upper eyelid retraction.
  • Pressure in the orbit.


Since, this kind of disease is mainly inherited from the family, there is no prevention to Grave’s ophthalmopathy.

How is it diagnosed?

In general, the health care providers can diagnose Graves’ ophthalmopathy only by medical history and a physical examination. Blood tests and other diagnostic tests then confirm the diagnoses. So...

How is it treated?

The treatment includes:


  • Radioiodine therapy

    In this therapy, overactive thyroid cells are killed by ingesting radioiodine. Use of topical lubricants, for example, artificial tears to reduce inflammation.

  • Thyroid surgery

    It includes hormone replacement therapy.

  • Medications

    These include drugs like Antithyroid medications.


  • Eye surgery

    Eye surgery is done to treat various symptoms.

When do I contact the doctor?

If you feel that your eye is sensitive with persistent redness and swelling, consult a doctor immediately.

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How does Medanta provide care?


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