Coping with Thyroid Eye Disease: Living Well Despite Symptoms
January 31st, 2023 by David Martin
TED is a condition characterized by inflammation and swelling of the muscles and tissues surrounding the eye. It is caused by an abnormal immune response to the thyroid gland. TED can cause a range of symptoms, including bulging of the eyes, double vision, and eye discomfort.
The National Library of Medicine states that thyroid eye disease is more common in females than males, with 16 out of every 100,000 females being affected and only 2.9 out of every 100,000 males affected by the disease.
The condition occurs when your thyroid gland becomes overactive or underactive. When the thyroid gland is overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism), it causes an autoimmune response, where your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the muscles and tissues around the eyes.
This leads the eyes to bulge, become red and swollen, and cause double vision and other eye problems.
Living with TED can be challenging, but there are coping strategies that can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
While TED is not a life-threatening disease, its symptoms may feel quite threatening to those affected by it. Stress is a significant player in the development and exacerbation of TED, so managing your level of stress is vital to managing your eye disease.
You can do this by engaging in stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or exercise. According to the National Library of Medicine, practicing yoga exercises for the eyes can help to reduce eye fatigue by making the muscles that control the eyes more efficient.
If that doesn’t work for you, consider talking to a therapist or counselor who can help you find other strategies that work better for you.
Another key strategy for managing TED symptoms is to protect your eyes from further damage. This can include wearing sunglasses when you’re outside to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. And also by avoiding activities that can cause eye strain, such as reading or working on the computer for long periods.
Protecting your eyes from UV rays will reduce eye strain by minimizing the amount of glare and bright light that enters your eyes. Glare and bright light cause your eyes to work harder to focus, leading to eye fatigue and discomfort.
UV-blocking sunglasses or a hat with a brim will block or reduce the amount of glare and bright light that enters your eyes. This makes it easier for your eyes to focus and reduce eye strain.
Nutrition And Diet
Eating a healthy diet is beneficial for people with Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) because it will help to manage symptoms and promote overall health. A diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats can help to improve energy levels, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy weight management.
Plus, certain nutrients, such as selenium, zinc, and vitamin A, can be important for the health of the thyroid and the eyes.
Medication And Surgery
Medication: TED is often treated with medications that reduce inflammation and swelling, such as corticosteroids (like prednisone) and immunosuppressants (like methimazole). These medications can help to reduce symptoms such as redness, pain, and double vision.
It’s important to note that Teprotumumab(branded as Tepezza), a monoclonal antibody that targets and blocks the action of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R), which is thought to play a role in the development of TED.
But this medicine is in the limelight because of its side effects. In clinical trials, a percentage of patients treated with teprotumumab experienced hearing loss.
And the FDA has recommended the patients receiving the drug have their hearing tested before and during treatment.
This situation has led affected people to file lawsuits against the manufacturers of the medicine. If you believe that you or somebody you know are a victim of this situation, then you can also file a Tepezza Lawsuit to hold the concerned authorities accountable.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be needed to correct problems caused by TED, such as double vision or drooping eyelids. Surgery options include:
- Orbital decompression: This surgery is done to create more space for the eye muscles and reduce pressure on the optic nerve.
- Eyelid surgery: Surgery to reposition or remove extra tissue from the eyelids to improve eyelid function and appearance.
- Extraocular muscle surgery or Strabismus: Surgery to reposition the muscles that control eye movement to improve eye alignment and reduce double vision.
It’s important to note that not all patients with TED will require surgery, and surgery is only considered if all other treatments have failed and the patient’s quality of life is affected.
Support And Resources
Remember that you’re not alone in your journey with TED. There are support groups and resources available for people living with the condition. Joining a support group can be a great way to connect with others who understand what you’re going through and to share coping strategies and advice.
Living with TED can be challenging, but with the right coping strategies and support, it’s possible to manage symptoms and improve your quality of life. Remember to take care of yourself, protect your eyes, and reach out for help if you need it.