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Thyroid eye disease is a rare but serious condition that affects about ten people per 100,000. The disorder causes the muscles around the eyes to expand, which can damage the retina and lead to blindness. Patients should be aware of the risk factors so they take preventive measures beforehand.

Thyroid eye disease is much easier to treat if it is identified in the early stages. Here are some common symptoms of the disorder.

Genetic Factors

Many people seem to have a predisposition to thyroid eye disease. Studies on identical twins have shown that people have 35% chance of developing the disorder if their twin is diagnosed with it. They have shown that the individuals have a 3% chance of developing thyroid eye disease if they have a fraternal twin with the disorder.

This shows that genetic factors aren’t the only contributors. However, patients are much more likely to develop the disease if there is a family history of it. If anyone in your family has developed thyroid eye disease, then you should consider getting evaluated for it.

Gender

Women are about five times as likely to develop thyroid eye disease as men. While everyone that is at risk of the disease should see a professional, women should be more diligent about it.

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors appear to play a role in the development of thyroid eye disease as well. Research has shown that smoking seems to be the biggest contributor. Smokers are also less likely to benefit from treatment. They can drastically reduce the severity of the disease by quitting smoking.

People that use radioactive iodine appear to be at a higher risk of developing the disease. However, they tend to be more responsive to treatment than smokers.

Do You Have These Symptoms?

There are several common symptoms of thyroid eye disease. You should seek treatment if you experience the following:

  • You have difficulty keeping your eyelids open
  • Your eyes constantly feel dry
  • Your eyes bulge out a bit

The disorder can progress rapidly, so people should seek treatment as soon as they begin to experience symptoms. There are a number of innovative treatments that can help address the problem.  Surgery tends to be the most effective way to treat it, but there are less invasive ways to treat the problem in the early stages. Steroid surgeries can take the edge off the problem. Wearing corrective lenses to filter light can help if your eyes are highly sensitive to it. You will want to speak with your doctor to find out which option is best.

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