I know that hyperthyroidism can sometimes affect the eyes — but could hypothyroidism also cause eye problems?
Answers from Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.
Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) isn't usually associated with eye disease. In severe cases, however, hypothyroidism may cause swelling around the eyes and a loss of the hairs in the outer part of the eyebrows.
In a few cases, an eye problem known as Graves' ophthalmopathy may develop if hypothyroidism develops after treatment for Graves' disease — the most common form of overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Graves' ophthalmopathy can cause eye discomfort, protruding eyeballs and vision changes.
Jan. 21, 2014
- Nippoldt TB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 9, 2013.
- Graves' disease. American Thyroid Association. http://www.thyroid.org/what-is-graves-disease/. Accessed Aug. 8, 2013.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Aug. 8, 2013
- Surks MI. Clinical manifestations of hypothyroidism. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 8, 2013.