September 9, 2021

Treatment options for thyroid eye disease

Specialty Infusion Blog Derick

thyroid eye disease

What is thyroid eye disease?

Thyroid eye disease — also known as TED, Graves’ eye disease, or Graves’ ophthalmopathy — is a progressive autoimmune condition that occurs when the eyelids, fatty tissues behind the eyes, and the muscles surrounding them become inflamed. Thyroid eye disease develops in people with an overactive thyroid which results in excess thyroid hormone production. There are two phases to TED: the active phase, marked by inflammation, usually lasts from six months to two years; and the stable phase, where inflammation and other symptoms have subsided.

Eye problems result from the swelling of the tissue around the eye and in the eye socket behind the eye. This swelling causes exophthalmos, an abnormal protrusion of the eye, commonly associated with Graves’ disease. This swelling may also cause eyelid retraction. This can lead to exposure and infection of the cornea. The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped “window” that lies directly over the eye’s pupil and iris. As a result, the eyes become red and swollen. In severe cases, you may experience bulging of the eyes and double vision. If the eyes are pushed forward too much, you may not be able to shut your eyes completely when blinking or sleeping. In a worst-case scenario, the inflammation may put pressure on the optic nerves behind the eyes — which could lead to blindness in the long term.

Thyroid eye disease usually occurs in people who have thyroid disease. Additional risk factors include:

Family history

Smoking (risk is reduced if you stop smoking)

Being middle-aged or older

Undergoing radioactive iodine therapy to treat hyperthyroidism

Treatment Options for Thyroid Eye Disease

Artificial tears may be used to treat mild symptoms, such as dry eye. If you have double vision, your eye doctor may recommend special lenses to help your vision. If you have swelling around the eyes, you may get a steroid medicine. It can help reduce the swelling. Or the doctor may talk to you about radiation or surgery for more serious eye problems. Radiation or surgery may help to treat problems in the muscles and tissues around your eyeball.

TEPEZZA (teprotumumab) is the only medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat thyroid eye disease. It reduces eye swelling, bulging, can correct double vision and improve vision in general. You’ll also experience less pain and redness from treatment. During clinical trials, patients noticed improvements within six weeks. TEPEZZA reduces the risk that a patient will have to undergo orbital decompression surgery, which is usually only considered once other treatments have failed.

TEPEZZA Side Effects

TEPEZZA has a risk of side effects in approximately 4% of patients. They may occur during treatment, or up to an hour and a half after the infusion has been completed. The most common ones include:

Muscle spasms

Muscle cramps




Hearing impairment


Dry skin

Changes in taste

Hair loss

High blood sugar

If Your Doctor Has Recommended Infusion Therapy, Let Specialty Infusion Centers Help You

If you would like to refer a patient to us or want to inquire about the treatments we offer, you can contact us by calling us at (212) 2INFUSE or filling out this form.