Category: Eye Disease
Thyroid Disorder Linked to Glaucoma
Thyroid disorder may be a newly recognized hazard for developing glaucoma, according to a report posted online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
The researchers commented that people who are diagnosed with glaucoma are more likely to have a thyroid condition, even as much as 38% more likely during their lifetime.
According to Gerald McGwin, PhD, Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama, "These findings suggest that those with a thyroid condition should be sure to see an ophthalmologist and tell them about their condition".
The report revealed a biological link between thyroid disorder and glaucoma.
Treatment of Glaucoma
Fortunately, Glaucoma can be treated with the proper screening and as with most medical conditions, early detection is the key to proper treatment.
Researchers Probe Relationship Between Thyroid Disorder and Glaucoma
A study was conducted on nearly twelve thousand participants from the National Health Survey that was taken in 2002. The researchers used odds rations and confidence intervals, which were used to quantify the link between a self-supported diagnosis of glaucoma and a self-reported thyroid disorder diagnosis. The researchers took into account whether or not the participant was a smoker and their demographic characteristics.
Outcome of the Study
Those with glaucoma that also reported a thyroid problem were 6.5% while those with glaucoma without a thyroid problem were only 4.4%. The researchers took into account risk factors for glaucoma such as gender, race, age and smoking habits, and afterwards the researchers found that the link between thyroid disorder and glaucoma was still significant.
An under active thyroid can lead to chemical deposits in the vessels which serve the eye, and can increase pressure within the eyeball. This is a known feature of glaucoma.
A spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and executive director of the Glaucoma Center in San Francisco, Dr. Andrew Iwach, noted that the possible link between thyroid problems and glaucoma is alarming and should be taken into account, however, the link still needs to be proven. The best prevention method for glaucoma is regular checkups by an Ophthalmologist. Dr. Iwach said, "If you haven't seen an ophthalmologist by age 40, that's a great time to get a baseline exam."
Dr. Iwach continued with noting that people sometimes do not know that they are at risk for developing glaucoma. They might be functioning fine, and over time the disease can "chip away" at the optic nerve, all the while increasing symptoms, which by the time they are noticed, unfortunately there may be nothing that can be done to reverse the damage.
What is the Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid gland makes hormones, which are essential for the normal function of every cell within the body. And these hormones regulate growth, development and the rate of chemical reactions.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is defined as continuous damage to the optic nerve. If left untreated, it can result in blindness.
Evidence Shows a Relation Between Thyroid Disorder, Glaucoma and the Elderly
In a comparable study, the researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago sustain that very many elderly people have undiagnosed thyroid problems; thyroid cancer is included in this list. And elderly patients are nearly twice as likely to be found to have thyroid cancer as younger patients.
Thyroid Cancer and the Elderly
In recent surveys, thyroid cancer was discovered in 41 percent of patients over 65, compared with 22 percent amid patients who were younger, according to the surveys.
Fortunately, thyroid cancer is treatable if diagnosed early, and age should not be a barricade to treatment, explained the researchers, who many were expecting to present their research findings at the 2008 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons in San Francisco.
Consult a Professional
If you or a loved one is suffering from a thyroid disorder, or suspects that they are suffering from a thyroid disorder, it is imperative that a regular checkup by an ophthalmologist be considered, certainly if the endocrinologist recommends it for screening of glaucoma.
Thyroid Eye Disease: A Serious Health Concern for Hyperthyroid Patients
Patients with thyroid disorders are often all too aware of the fact that these conditions can cause a broad spectrum of physical and mental symptoms. From anxiety attacks to coarse hair, the consequences of even slight dysfunction of the inch-long thyroid gland can be severe and wide-ranging.
Still, many thyroid patients remain unaware of a relatively rare but potentially dangerous side effect of excessively fast thyroid function: an eye disorder known to doctors as Graves' orbitopathy, more commonly referred to as thyroid eye disease. We’ll take a look at the causes and origins of this disorder, its chief symptoms, and traditional and emerging treatment options.
What is Thyroid Eye Disease?
Thyroid eye disease is a condition that affects as many as half of all patients with the type of hyperthyroidism known as Graves’ disease. In some cases, patients who develop thyroid eye disease do not meet all of the diagnostic criteria for hyperthyroidism; however, these stand-alone cases of thyroid eye disease are relatively rare.
Researchers have not yet been able to uncover the reason why so many patients with Graves’ hyperthyroidism also develop thyroid eye disease. At the current juncture, the persistent link between Graves’ disease and thyroid eye disease has not yet been explained.
Thyroid eye disease is an autoimmune disorder that impacts the tissues of the eyes and the eyelids. Like other autoimmune disorders, thyroid eye disease causes the body to attack itself. In this disease, there is an adverse reaction that occurs between the fatty tissues of the eye and a specific class of white blood cells known as lymphocytes. As a result, the eyeballs are literally pushed out of their sockets.
Patients with thyroid eye disease often experience chronic, painful inflammation of the eyelids. This can also result in the characteristic “bug-eyed” appearance that is one of the chief hallmarks of the disease. Patients often report extreme sensitivity to conditions such as wind or sun.
The constant pain and irritation experienced by patients with thyroid eye disease can be difficult to cope with. In addition, some patients feel self-conscious about their altered appearance in the wake of the eye bulging that is the most common physical sign of the disease.
For some patients who have been more severely impacted, thyroid eye disease can result in impaired vision. This occurs when the inflammation of the eyes results in double vision or blurred vision. Although this symptom does not impact all patients with thyroid eye disease, it can seriously limit the mobility and independence of those who experience it.
At the current juncture, no reliable test exists to check for thyroid eye disease. Instead, physicians typically rely on the identification and analysis of the presenting symptoms in order to make a diagnosis. However, progress is being made towards developing a reliable clinical test for the disease, which could prove to be useful in prevention efforts.
Treatment and Prognosis
Although no “cure” exists for thyroid eye disease, doctors have developed a wide array of methods for managing the disorder and treating the most challenging symptoms. Like many other disorders that are associated with an underlying diagnosis of thyroid disease, the single most important aspect of treating thyroid eye disease is ensuring that patients adhere strictly to their prescribed treatment regimen. If the underlying hyperthyroidism is not well controlled, it is more likely that the symptoms of thyroid eye disease will be severe.
Increasing numbers of patients with serious cases of thyroid eye disease are opting for surgical treatment options. New procedures can eliminate much of the eye bulging that many patients find disagreeable. This eliminates the aesthetic problems associated with the disorder, but it also eliminates some of the pain and irritation, as well. Surgical intervention is a good option in cases in which patients suffer from severe inflammation.
Despite the seriousness of the disorder, the prognosis for thyroid eye disease is typically fairly good. If the underlying hyperthyroidism is well-controlled with adherence to a prescription regimen, and no further complications occur, the worst of the symptoms of the disorder will usually recede within two years.
If you have hyperthyroidism and you have experienced dryness, itching, or inflammation of the eyes, talk to your doctor about the possibility that you may be developing thyroid eye disease.
For Further Reading
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