Thyroid Eye Disease Clinic Overview

Thyroid Eye Disease Clinic in Minnesota

At Mayo Clinic, people with Graves' disease and eye symptoms receive expert care from a multidisciplinary team of doctors and surgeons in the Thyroid Eye Disease Clinic. Thyroid eye disease (Graves' ophthalmopathy) can cause vision loss, eye pain, bulging eyes and eyelid swelling.

During your visit, your doctors talk with you about your concerns and assess your condition. Then together you'll develop a treatment plan that addresses your goals, which may be preserving your vision, improving eye symptoms and restoring the appearance of your eyes. Your thyroid function will also be evaluated and treated. Surgery may be scheduled, or your doctors may discuss medical options with you.

A team approach

At the Thyroid Eye Disease Clinic, doctors who specialize in nose and sinus problems (rhinology), the eyes and eye socket (ophthalmology), the endocrine system (endocrinology), and others work together so that you get exactly the care you need. The team's seamless collaborative approach offers customized and efficient treatment.

When you arrive at the clinic in the morning, you'll meet with each specialist and complete any needed blood draws, vision assessments and imaging scans. The doctors then review your photographs, scans and lab results at a noon conference and develop a common plan of action. In the afternoon, you'll meet with your endocrinologist and ophthalmologist to discuss the proposed plan and any questions you may have. Your best treatment option might be an anti-inflammatory medication or it might be surgery.

You'll also receive a follow-up care plan that you can take to your home doctor. Because smoking worsens thyroid eye disease, this plan may include a referral to Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center.

More than 1,600 people with Graves' disease are treated at Mayo Clinic each year.

Virtual visits

Virtual visits are a useful option, especially for people who are considering traveling to Mayo Clinic from a long distance. These discussions between you and a Mayo Clinic thyroid eye disease specialist can be done over the phone or by videoconference. You'll be asked to submit photographs, lab results and CT images before the appointment.

Advanced treatment options

Mayo Clinic doctors use the latest medical approaches and surgical techniques to treat eye and vision complications of Graves' disease. New antibody-based therapies can stop the inflammation around the eyes and reverse some of the changes in eye appearance and function.

Your doctors may recommend a complex surgical technique called balanced orbital decompression surgery. For this approach, your otolaryngologist and eye surgeons work together. They use endoscopy and CT-guided navigation tools to remove bone that is constraining the eye muscles, optic nerve and fat in the space behind the eye. This reverses bulging of the eye and allows the eye to move back to a normal position.

Research to improve outcomes

Mayo Clinic doctors and scientists have long been leaders in Graves' disease research. The Thyroid Eye Disease Clinic specialists are committed to doing research that improves treatment and reduces side effects. Talk with your doctor about potential new diagnostic and therapeutic advances that might benefit you. Learn about their research activities.

See a list of publications about thyroid eye disease by Mayo Clinic doctors on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

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Nov. 17, 2020