Treatment at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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Aside from the treatment information featured on this page, Mayo Clinic provides all standard treatment options for this condition.

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Mayo Clinic has a specialized endocrinology and ophthalmology team with expertise in the treatment of Graves' disease and Graves' ophthalmopathy. Experienced specialists work together as a team to create a customized treatment plan for you, including the latest treatment options. Treatment options vary, depending on whether you are experiencing thyroid, skin or eye-related symptoms.

Treatment for thyroid symptoms

Your doctor may recommend these treatments for thyroid symptoms:

  • Radioiodine therapy. Radioiodine therapy involves drinking a solution containing radioactive iodine. The iodine collects in your thyroid, and over time the overactive thyroid cells are destroyed. Most people need hormone replacement treatment following radioiodine therapy to ensure that their bodies have normal thyroid hormones levels. Mayo Clinic doctors provide close follow-up care to adjust your hormone levels.
  • Medications. Two types of medications may be prescribed. Medications called beta blockers block symptoms of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and are used along with other treatments. Anti-thyroid medications may also help prevent excess hormone production.
  • Thyroid surgery. Mayo Clinic surgeons have specialized in thyroid surgery for more than 100 years. People who cannot tolerate medications or do not choose to have radioactive iodine treatment may have thyroid gland removal surgery. Hormone replacement therapy is generally necessary following surgery.

Treatment for eye symptoms (Graves' ophthalmopathy)

When Graves' disease affects the eyes (Graves' ophthalmopathy), your doctor may recommend several self-care options if your symptoms are mild. For more severe symptoms, a specialized team of Mayo Clinic doctors in endocrinology and ophthalmology collaborate to determine the most appropriate treatment for you. They may recommend one or more of these options:

  • Medications. Certain medications, such as steroids, reduce the swelling (inflammation) behind the eyes to relieve discomfort. Prescription strength eyedrops also may help relieve some symptoms.
  • Surgery. Depending on your needs, your doctor may recommend: surgery to remove a portion of bone between your eye socket (orbit) and sinuses, allowing more room for the swollen tissues behind the eyes (orbital decompression surgery); eye muscle surgery to properly line up your eyes and prevent double vision; eyelid surgery to reduce the irritation and discomfort caused by retracted eyelids.
  • Prisms. Double vision can sometimes be corrected with prescription prisms placed in your eyeglasses.

Treatment for skin symptoms (Graves' dermopathy)

The red, swollen skin of individuals with Graves' dermopathy is often treated with prescription creams and ointments, and leg wrappings.

Jul. 07, 2011