Thyroid Eye Disease Correction Basics

November 14, 2013

Tampa-based orbital, oculoplastic, and neuro-ophthalmic surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kwitko performs cosmetic surgery of the eyelids, blepharoplasty, and procedures necessary to remove cancer of the eye or eyelids. A clinical assistant professor at the University of South Florida, Dr. Geoffrey Kwitko also treats a number of conditions of the eye caused by disease, injury, or aging.

eye
Many patients with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid gland, eventually suffer from thyroid eye disease. In most cases, this problem causes relatively minor or no side effects and does not impact vision. Approximately five percent of people with Graves’ disease, however, experience severe thyroid eye disease that necessitates surgery to restore the appearance of the eyes to normal and relieve such symptoms as dryness or pressure. In rare situations, people with thyroid eye disease require an emergency operation, such as orbital decompression surgery, to alleviate compression of the optic nerve or to correct corneal exposure.

Orbital decompression surgery enlarges the eye socket to reduce the effects of thyroid eye disease, such as bulging of the eye or pressure against the optic nerve. In this procedure, the surgeon removes fat, bone, or a combination of the two from the orbit. Many doctors perform orbital decompression surgery in tandem with eyelid surgeries designed to decrease exposure of the cornea.

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