Graves’ Disease Symptoms
How Does Graves' Disease Affect the Eyes?
Too much thyroid hormone can cause eye and vision problems in some people. Symptoms are different among people, and they can come and go.
Here are some of the problems.
When the muscles around the eye swell, they get tighter, like a rubberband. They pull, or retract, the upper and lower eyelid. The white parts of the eye become more visible.
Having too much thyroid hormone causes the muscles in and around the eye to swell and push the eye forward. This eye bulge makes someone look as if they are constantly staring. It is a common symptom of Graves’ disease.
With eyelid protraction and eye protrusion, the eyes are exposed to wind and dust. This can make the eyes very dry. Dry eye makes the eyes feel very scratchy and uncomfortable, and makes vision blurry. Being very sensitive to light is also a problem. Severe dry eye can eventually damage the cornea, the clear, front window of the eye.
Muscle swelling can cause double vision. That swelling can also lead to pressure on the optic nerve. That is the nerve connecting the eye to the brain. When the optic nerve is damaged, it causes blindness.
When the eyelid swells, it can cause tissue around the eye to bulge. This looks like “bags” around the eyes, and can make someone look older than they are.