The constellation of eye problems that go along with diseases of the thyroid gland goes by many names, to include Graves’ disease, thyroid related immune orbitopathy (TRIO), and thyroid related orbitopathy (TRO). This is a disorder of the immune system, not a primary thyroid problem. Some patients in fact have completely normal thyroid hormone studies. It is not fully understood why our protective defenses impact the body’s own tissues. In thyroid eye disease, the tissue around the eye is directly affected by inflammatory cells and the result can be inflammation, swelling, misalignment of the eyes causing double vision, and bulging of one or both of the eyes.
There are many treatments for these problems, including both medications and surgery. Individualized assessment and treatment is necessary to achieve best results for any individual patient.