Q&A: Can Thyroid Problems Affect My Eyes?

close up woman's eyesQ: Is there a connection between your eyes and thyroid health? – T.D.

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A: The quick answer is YES! Thyroid eye disease, also called Graves’ eye disease, is an autoimmune condition where immune cells attack the thyroid gland and can affect many different parts of the eye and surrounding tissues.

Inflammation in the glands around the eye may cause wet eyes or dry eyes, and these can both happen in the same person at different times. Lubrication with eyedrops or ointment can help to soothe this irritation.

The abnormal immune reaction causes swelling in the tissues of the eyelids and orbit which can make the eyelids look puffy or as if the person has “baggy” eyelids. This can also create a sensation of pressure around the eyes. The swelling can be surgically altered to bring the lids back to a more normal shape.