Thyroid Eye Disease and Surgery in Philadelphia

Serving Philadelphia, the Main Line, King of Prussia, Wayne, PA, New Jersey and the neighboring tri state areas

American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Oculofacial Plastic Surgery American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery American Academy of Ophthalmology American Board of Ophthalmology American College of Surgeons (ACS) WillsEye Hospital Philadelphia, PA

Thyroid eye disease can be painful, cosmetically unsightly and can cause you to lose vision.

There are several different approaches to treating this eye disease, and it is essential to meet with a qualified ophthalmologist if you are seeking help. At Morgenstern Center for Orbital and Facial Plastic Surgery, our greater Philadelphia facial and oculoplastic surgeons are experienced and can help you decide if surgical intervention is necessary.

Real Patient Before & Afters

The autoimmune problems that lead to thyroid disease can also lead to thyroid eye disease, although they are two separate health conditions. Thyroid disease does not directly cause these eye problems, and as such, treatment for thyroid disease may or may not resolve the eye problems. An abnormal antibody attack on the thyroid gland can also affect the tissues around your eyes, causing them to become inflamed and swollen, which leads to a variety of serious symptoms.

These symptoms and problems can be cosmetically and physically detrimental. They can lead to poor vision, impaired eyelid function, discomfort, and the appearance of eyes that are open too wide or baggy eyelids. Our facial surgeons have extensive training and experience in reconstructive and corrective facial surgery, including surgery to repair the damage of thyroid eye disease.

Some of the most common problems associated with thyroid eye disease are:

  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Baggy, swollen eyelids
  • Double vision
  • Vision loss
  • Eyelid retraction
  • Eye protrusion

Before surgical intervention for this eye condition, ophthalmologists will typically try to treat with eye drops, steroids, medications or other non-surgical methods. In some cases, surgery is necessary. Surgery may be required for:

  • Startled appearance caused by upper eyelids being pulled up and lower eyelids being pulled down by muscle tightness.
  • Puffy eyelid appearance caused by swelling of tissues of the eyelids and the orbit. Surgery can reduce swelling and restore normal eyelid appearance.
  • Swelling of the muscles that control the eyes can cause double vision and focusing problems.
  • Swollen tissue causes the eyes to bulge outward.
  • Swelling and inflammation compressing the optic nerve.

The tissue changes of thyroid eye disease can continue to evolve for several months to a year. During this time, your doctor will focus on alleviating your symptoms with lubricating eye drops or medications. If a serious, sight-threatening problem arises, other treatment interventions may be required. For the most part, any surgical intervention will be postponed until the ongoing physical changes stabilize.

A qualified ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon like Dr. Morgenstern and Dr. Giacometti can determine the route of treatment that will be most effective for the eye and vision problems you are currently experiencing.

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