Thyroid eye disease is a very serious threat to your child’s vision. The overactivity or underactivity of the thyroid can seriously affect the body’s daily functioning. An autoimmune condition in which immune cells attack the thyroid gland, this disease is the organ’s attempt to defend itself. The thyroid will secrete an excess amount of hormone which increases metabolization. The autoimmune attack often will target eye muscle and connective tissue because the proteins within these structures are similar to those found in the thyroid. Although more common in adults than children, the disease has a number of side effects including vision loss. It’s best to take it seriously enough to have your child’s vision tested if any complications are evident.
Symptoms and Causes
Often times, victims of thyroid eye disease experience swelling of the eyelids, eyelid retraction, dry eyes, watering and redness, sensitivity to light, a feeling of pressure in the eye sockets, and double vision or loss of vision. When the immune system attacks the eye sockets and surrounding tissues, swelling and irritation occur. This constant irritation may result in the symptoms listed above. It’s best to see an optometrist sooner rather than later if you or your child are experiencing similar ocular complications.
Who is At Risk For Thyroid Eye Disease?
Adults are far more likely to be diagnosed with thyroid eye disease, however, in a few rare cases children are affected as well. Women are 5x more likely than men to have overactive thyroids, and cigarette smokers are far more likely to develop the disease and experience prolonged, more severe effects. Even so, if your child is experiencing the signs of an overactive thyroid (difficulty swallowing, increased appetite, loss of weight, smoother skin, rapid pulse etc.) while complaining of eye irritation you should bring them in as soon as possible.
There are two phases of treatment for thyroid eye disease. The first phase involves treatment of the active areas of pain/irritation (the eyes). The second phase involve correcting permanent changes that persist as a result of the prolonged irritation. The active period usually lasts 2-3 years and treatment includes careful monitoring and the preservation of sight and the integrity of the cornea. Phase two is more along the lines of treatment during the remission phase. This includes surgery to correct double vision or eyelid retraction or fixing the eye into normal positioning within the socket.
Concerned Your Child Might Have Thyroid Eye Disease? Call Pediatric Eye Care Today!
Pediatric Eye Care of Maryland takes your child’s eye health very seriously. With a full staff of highly skilled Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, and Orthoptists we’ve got ocular health covered. If you feel any concern about your child’s vision, have questions concerning eye health, or need information on the services we offer contact us today. With 4 convenient locations in Maryland, we are your number one choice for eye treatment.
Book an appointment if you or your child is experiencing rapid heartbeat, eye swelling, excessive watering and redness, eyelid irritation, or eyelid retraction. This could be signs of Thyroid eye disease, a very serious malady that can cause loss of vision if left untreated.