What is Grave's ophthalmopathy?
Grave's ophthalmopathy (GO) occurs when cells from the immune system attack the muscles and other tissues around the eyes. The result is inflammation and a buildup in tissue and fat behind the eye socket, causing the eyeballs to bulge. In rare cases, inflammation is severe enough to compress the optic nerve that leads to the eye, causing vision loss.
Other symptoms of Grave's ophthalmopathy include
- dry, irritated eyes
- puffy eyelids
- double vision
- light sensitivity
- pressure or pain in the eyes
- trouble moving the eyes
About 25 percent of people with Grave's disease develop Grave's ophthalmopathy, which is usually of mild to moderate severity. This eye disorder usually lasts 1 to 2 years and often improves on its own. Grave's ophthalmopathy can occur before, at the same time as, or after other symptoms of hyperthyroidism develop and may even occur in people whose thyroid function is normal. Grave's ophthalmopathy is severe in 3 to 5 percent of people who have the disorder, and smoking makes Grave's ophthalmopathy worse.
National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service. Grave's Disease