Is it possible to have thyroid eye disease (TED) but be hypOthyroid?

So as not to hijack Fortisgreen's previous post I'm asking a separate question.

I have hashimoto's and I suffer badly with blurred and double vision. My eyes protrude very slightly.

The optician says he can't find anything wrong with my eyes. I have 20/20 vision for distance and a very mild reading prescription in my left eye only. Not bad for a 54yr old.

The problem seemed so bad that I couldn't believe the optician was right so I went to two other opticians. All three said exactly the same. I get checked every year as my dad had glaucoma. All three say there is no sign of glaucoma.

Wondered if it is TED? If so what can I do about it or is it just something I'll just have to live with?



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21 Replies

  • Have you seen you gp! How long have you had it! Good news you vision is ok!

  • GP just said to see optician. Thanks for reply :-)

  • Yes, it appears that it is possible to have TED with Hashimoto's. You might find this useful. If you think you may have TED it would be a good idea to see a doctor who knows about this.

    Carolyn x

  • Thanks for the link Carolyn. I've only read links that said associated with Graves/auto immune thyroid disease. So thought being hashi's which is also auto immune it was possible to have it too. Will try to get a referral to specialist. Thanks again :-)

  • Yes you can get TED if hypo, my sister had it badly and had to give up driving because of the double vision, she's ok now but it's taken several years to get better. I think you have to inform DVLA if you have double vision problems, assuming you drive that is.

  • Thank you hypohen. Very good news about your sisters eye sight getting better :-). Optician said use my own judgement as to wether my sight is too bad to drive. My distance vision doesn't seem to be effected. It's only reading (close work) and when I'm tired. That double vision is worse. I don't drive long distances and feel my sight is safe enough to drive. Thank you for your reply. Really glad to know if it is TED, it can get better. :-)

  • Not sure if she was correct but the optician I see says that general opticians dont test for TED and it wouldn't show up in any other test they do. You need to be referred to an Ophthalmologist..

  • Thanks for reply :-). How would I get referral? Optician or doctor? Have you got TED?

  • Unfortunately yes I do. It was after I had seen the Endo (for Graves) a few times that I then saw the Ophthalmologist, so I take it she had a word. Your GP should refer you, I would have thought.

  • Thanks silver_fairy. I'll get on with it soon :-) x

  • The way I view hypo and hyper, is that they are two sides of the same coin, not opposite diseases. I certainly have had symptoms of both even though bloods have consistently come back hyper, before diagnosis and medication.

  • I agree they are the same side of thyroid disease and not opposites. Graves and Hashimoto's are both autoimmune so Just one end of the spectrum from the other. Hashimoto's have episodes of hyper and hypo phases. Thanks for reply granitecitygirl. :-)

  • This really interests me as i'm hypo and get double vision at various times of the day. I get eyeball pain too. My optician found nothing wrong too! At the moment my eyes are gritty and running from the outer corners. :-(

  • Have you got hashimoto's? Have you been tested for antibodies? Maybe you should get checked if you are unsure. I hope your eyesight improves. :-) wendy

  • Hi Wendy, i have no idea, i haven't been tested for antibodies. I see an endo for the first time on Thursday, i will raise problems with my eyesight with him. The swelling is up around my eyes, i'm sure this doesn't help. Xx

  • TED is a separate independent condition. It is possible to get TED and have no thyroid issues at all.

    If diagnosed (and I struggle to see why an optician wouldn't spot it) treatment for it (if in active phase) is fast and harsh to prevent visual damage.

    Other eye issues are common with all types of thyroid dysfunction without it being TED these include dry, watering, sore, aching and mild double vision. All will resolve with adequate replacement therapy.

    TED will run its disease course regardless of thyroid treatment although proper management of the thyroid can lessen the damage done when in conjunction with steroid/anti rejection therapy.

    Get referred to an ophthalmologist to check for proper diagnosis

  • I had several eye issues including dryness, and some discomfort round the orbit. Went to a good optician who took great care to do all the testing he could. He then referred me to an ophthalmologist - had a couple of appointments with slit lamps, etc.

    Decided nothing on the TED side, in fact, nothing other than dryness.

    What is odd to me is that I have had several periods of maybe a few weeks in which my eyes have been like this. Each time they have recovered and I have been able not to use the artificial tears/lacrilube products.

    On the thyroid front, I am a simple hypothyroid case - take my levothyroxine and feel better. :-) Not convinced there is any connection between actual thyroid hormone levels and MY eye issues. This could be very different for others.


  • Thanks Rod :-) hope you don't have it again. Will try to get a referral.

  • Thank you TTLady I will try to get a referral. :-)

  • I have Hashi and vision problems. My optician referred my to an opthalmist who did loads of tests and couldn't find anything wrong! I don't drive at night as my vision is really bad then. I have high eye pressure and was on yearly checks as my Nan had glaucoma (I also had the extra photos done at every visit). I did also express to the optician and the opthalmist that I had thyroid issues so they were both aware and nothing flagged up.

    Be interested to hear what you find out; think I'm at a bit of a dead end with it for now!

  • Thanks penny :-) it will be interesting to find something out :-) x

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