Graves' Eye Disease | oneGRAVESvoice

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Patient Education

Graves’ Eye Disease

key information

source: American Thyroid Association (ATA)

year: N/A

summary/abstract:

What is the Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is normally located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormone helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should. 

What is Graves Ophthalmopathy?
Graves’ eye disease, also called Graves’ ophthalmopathy or thyroid eye disease, is a problem that usually develops in people with an overactive thyroid caused by Graves’ disease (See brochure on Graves’ disease). Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease caused by antibodies directed against receptors present in the thyroid cells and also on the surface of the cells behind the eyes. Rarely, it can also affect the skin, usually the front part of the legs. This usually results in a generalized over activity of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). Up to one-half of people with Graves’ disease develop eye symptoms. These are usually mild and treatable.