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      This may sound stupid, but what symptoms characterize lid retraction. I don’t think I’ve encountered
      this yet, but I may not know what to look for. I think I’m gettin hypersensitive!

        Post count: 93172

        Hi, Erin! A friendly reminder – no question is stupid, especially when
        it’s about your health. :)

        The Graves’ antibodies are known to attack our thyroids, eyes, and/or
        the skin on the front of our legs. In Graves’ Ophthalmopathy the
        antibodies will attack the external eye muscles and their surrounding
        tissues. The eye muscles become swollen and stiff, which can lead to
        scarring. The scar tissue will contract, or shorten, and reveal the
        whites of our eyes above and/or below our irises. This eyelid
        retraction gives us the “stare” that is associated with thyroid disease.
        Approximately one in twenty people with hyperthyroidism develop eye
        problems. The amount of eyelid retraction varies with each Graves’
        patient, and may disappear on its own – usually once the hyperthyroidism
        is under control. Watch for the appearance of your eyes (the stare),
        significant dryness, irritation, tearing, a gritty feeling, and/or
        possible light sensitivity. Bulging eyes (proptosis from the swelling
        of the tissue behind your eyeballs) in combination with lid retraction
        can lead to other problems, so it’s very wise to see an ophthalmologist
        who is experienced with Graves’ Disease.

        Happy Health and Happy New Year! Debby

          Post count: 93172

          Debbie, where does the stats (1 out of 20) comes from regarding the number of Grave’s patients with eye disease ?


            Post count: 93172

            I have seen claims that Grave’s Ophthalmopathy occurs anywhere from 5% to 50% of the time in patients with Grave’s (hyperthyroidism). I also know that the eye disease does not always have to have the hyperthyroidism present.
            I believe that it comes down to what each medical community reporting considers ophthalmopathy and just normal eye symptoms from the hyperthyroidism. So I’m really not sure how accurate any of the claims are. It would be easier if it is recorded after the hyperthyroidism was treated. However, in about all of the reports I have, some type of eye problem was recorded, usually just slight ocular fatigue, dryness, and/or grittiness. I can say that there are about 25%-30% out of the some 1700 reports that I have where the patient was diagnosed as also having the eye disease (or atleast were diagnosed that way).


              Post count: 93172

              Ron, of the 5% to 50% who have the eye disease, how many do you reckon suffer from exothalmos (eye protrusion) ?


                Post count: 93172

                Hi, Clementine!

                I pulled the 1 in 20 stat from the NGDF bulletin #42, “Thyroid Eye
                Disease and the Role of the Thyroid Eye Specialist” by Doctors
                Gladstone and Nesi. Here’s their complete quote:
                “The eye changes associated with thyroid disease are referred to as
                Thyroid Related Orbitopathy (TRO). Although TRO is seen in all types
                of thyroid disorders, it is most common in patients that are or were
                hyperthyroid. TRO occurs in about 1 out of 20 people that were
                hyperthyroid. It can also rarely occur in those who are hypothyroid
                and even when there is an absence of thyroid abnormalities in the body.”

                I’m sorry, I should’ve clarified that Graves’ eye disease can also
                occur in hypothyroidism and when patients are euthyroid. I would
                guess that the above stat is referring to people with more severe eye
                symptoms. I’ve heard and read many percentages thrown around, and
                one can only go by approximations. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN
                estimates that severe ophthalmopathy will develop in 3% to 5% of all
                patients who have hyperthyroidism (AJO, Nov. 1993). According to
                Dr. David Cooper, NGDF ’97 conference speaker, 30% to 40% of Graves’
                patients have obvious eye problems. Approximations, guesses, chances.
                As a Graves’ patient, one has to be aware of the symptoms of all aspects
                of the disease and monitor her/his own health closely. It doesn’t
                do one good to worry about what could happen, when “chances” are it
                won’t – especially with the severe eye disease. Sorry to be so blunt,
                but I don’t like numbers and percentages to unnecessarily scare
                newbies to this disease. Graves’ is a unique experience to each
                patient. We can compare notes, but no two experiences will be
                exactly the same.

                Wishing you health and happiness, Debby

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