Eye Problems and hypo?

Last May I had my usual eye test and a new prescription. I am long sighted with a correction for astigmatism and also had an episode of a Posterior Vitreous Detachment in both eyes. I am also hypothyroid and suspect I may not be converting well thought it has also been suggested here that RT3 could be a problem. I was with Dr S so hoping to see a new expert soon. I don't read an awful lot but started to find reading not easy though distance fine. I found I was closing one eye to read then found I was actually closing the weaker eye!

Back to the Opticians who decided the frames needed tightening up which helped a lot. Christmas arrived with new books to read and I find I couldn't read for long using both eyes. I go into town once a month but kept forgetting to call in until yesterday. A young lady came to talk to me and performed some basic tests in the shop then asked me about my thyroid. Until then I had forgotten that last May I noticed the recent scar and asked if it was due to her thyroid so we had chatted about it and she remembered. She thought my thyroxine may need increasing and suggested a new eye test. I was unaware that you could have eye problems and be hypo. I certainly don't have the bulging eyes from being over treated, in fact I think completely the opposite! If I can see any problem its bags underneath. Her suggestion is we re-test and depending on what they find send a referral letter to my GP suggesting an appointment at the eye clinic.

Has anyone else had a similar problem or any comments to make? My re-test is next week and my chance to ask the Ophthalmologist any questions but not sure what I should be asking.

Many thanks

28 Replies

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  • I've often felt that my eyes become softer and more sunken when hypo, but I'm not aware that this is a known sign of hypo. How interesting! Please let us all know how you get on.

  • Will do!

  • I cannot answer your question but there is a link below answering similar question and go to the date November 20, 2002.

    web.archive.org/web/2010103...

  • That's very interesting shaws! it fits in with RT3 and also the fact that I have been on Levo for over 20 years having read its not often effective after about 15. I've never come across thyroid eyes and being hypo before and its not that I disagree with my opticians but I suppose knowledge is power!. Funnily enough my son works in the eye department and I asked him a question a few weeks back about someone posting on here about having to wait 7 months for a MRI. He said the thyroid eye clinic is one of the busiest so I jokingly said may be I should see him, he may be more on the ball than what I've heard about the Endo's! Thank you so much for the link.

  • My eyesight had a marked deterioration just after I was diagnosed hypo. My then opthalmologist said it was because of my malfunctioning thyroid. I usually have to have eye tests every year, not every 2. Yet another problem! Let us know how you go on.

  • Thanks Maggiet, I will. I got the impression so far that there was concern that the prescription could keep changing and that cost could be a problem. I have varifocals, not sure how to spell that, and I need the wider ones which are even more expensive!

  • Yep, me too. So expensive!

  • Just clicked on the Thyroid Eye Disease and found a post two months ago but I must confess I didn't read much of it at the time because it seemed to be about Graves! I was wrong to ignore as some replies are about problems and being hypo so I shouldn't have been so dismissive! I now feel less alone about it all and thank you all for your comments. We shall see how this pans out and who or what offers me sound advice, I suspect it won't be the GP.

  • Hi Silverfox, eye problems most certainly can happen with hypO. Before I was diagnosed, my eyesight deteriorated rapidly from almost 20/20 vision to needing two pairs of glasses… a pair for reading and a pair for distance. The optician suggested varifocals, but I couldn't get on with them at all. So I had to settle for carrying both pairs around with me all the time, swapping between the two as necessary.

    That was at least ten years ago now. Those glasses are sitting in a drawer somewhere gathering dust. I don't need glasses at all now, and haven't done for several years. I can see well enough in a good light to thread a sewing machine needle.

    One of the first signs for me that my thyroid levels are wrong is my eyesight going wonky. I believe there are two aspects to this. One is that thyroid hormone imbalance affects muscle strength. Eyes depend on good muscle function, and any weakness can result in the eye muscles not being able to focus properly. The second thing is that thyroid hormone is required for brain function, and any imbalance may affect the brain's ability to correctly interpret what the eyes are seeing. Both will result in less than optimal vision.

    Unfortunately, medical people dealing with eyes do not seem to be as aware of this as they should be. My eye problems were never picked up as being anything to do with thyroid. Even when I attended a specialist eye hospital, I was told that only hypER people could have eye issues.

    In case it's of interest to anyone else reading this thread, I'll also mention that good thyroid hormone levels are required for colour vision too. I lost all colour vision at one point. Seeing everything in shades of grey was very scary. Thankfully that also corrected itself with the appropriate dose of thyroid medication. thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/resear...

  • Thanks for that. Funnily enough I've just had a very bad bout of tonsillitis and I always think my Levo doesn't work at all when not well but I did notice bladder control not as good then and I've always suspected acid reflux is lax muscles rather than anything else. The major problem is always going to be though that no one really listens to what we are telling them! Would I have had this interesting conversation in the opticians though it I wasn't talking to someone who already knew I had a thyroid problem and has had one herself. Ok she's fortunate in not yet needing any treatment herself but I expect professionally she has latched onto signs and symptoms. Again I moan-why can't the medics pick up on such things? Well I suppose it means admitting they got it wrong!

  • Yes, acid reflux and bladder control… also symptoms for me that levels are wonky. It can all happen either way though… too much thyroid hormone or too little will cause me muscle problems.

    Totally agree, it's all incredibly frustrating that medics are oblivious to these things, and seem not to want to be bothered to tke these things on board. Once upon a time, when I was naive about medical people, I would have thought that listening to, and learning from their patients would be a major necessity. I used to be a teacher. I often learnt things from my pupils as well as teaching them. Why won't medics do the same :(

  • I used to work with medical students and yes, straight A's and all that but I found some were totally lacking in common sense and some not good people interaction. Feel having nose in textbooks ALL the time is not good either, social skills observing etc are all important.

  • I didn't get on with varifocals at first. I'd had bi focals for a number of years but the optician said I may like to try the new type though they were more expensive. Well they certainly looked better so I did just that. It was a nightmare! I was missing the plate when serving dinner and it often ended up on the floor. The plates actually looked oval! I went back as I knew I couldn't safely drive in them. Well the driving was fine but I couldn't glance down and see the speedo correctly and I couldn't read prices on different shelves. In the supermarket either!So I went back. The optician wore glasses himself but hadn't yet tried varifocals but he told me there was a better, but more expensive verifocal that the near vision area cover a greater part of the lens. If I was willing to be a guinea pig for him he would greatly reduce the price for me so this is what I did. I made out a chart and listed everything I did and then tabulated the three types of glasses I'd worn recently and how I felt about each one. It soon became apparent these new expensive ones were far superior. The extra cost was that the prescription had to be sent to France. I called in and left my findings with my optician. He was impressed with my attention to detail but he did ask who did the washing up as that was the only thing missing from my list-my husband did that! So may be that was the problem when you tried. Thankfully it wasn't a long term problem and its great to hear that your sight went back to what it was!

    I'm also pleased to note that my local hospital is on the ball. My son works in the eye clinic so he went to talk to a person in the thyroid clinic and found they run two-one for hyper and one for hypo so no worries now if it is found I do have a problem!

  • Hi everyone, I'm hypo and have been reading with one eye closed! My prescription for glasses never seems right. I can have very blurry days with vision and my eyes watering excessily. After reading I can get awful double vision for hours, and my night vision is absolutely terrible. I have to use a plug in nightlight for loo visits! Driving at night is a big problem, I use fullbeam as often as I can or I can't really see where the road is going. I avoid driving at night now. Even on shed loads of T3 I'm still having problems. I live in the country, and over the road are sheep, and they often look like they're on top of one another!

  • Gosh that sounds frightening and potentially dangerous! I'm just wondering if you are experiencing what happened to me with my first pair of glasses. I'd never had an eye test before, I was young, healthy but experiencing head aches if I read for a long time. I had my test at a place local to where I worked and they were horrified at my test. They said I needed a very strong prescription, so strong that they thought it better I had a weaker one to start off with or else I would never cope! I picked up my new glasses and was told to just wear them for 10 mins at a time to start off with. Thankfully I didn't try driving in them but it was a nightmare, fell down a flight of stairs at work and was always banging my head on shelves etc. Working in a medical department I went to talk to one of the lecturers about it. He asked me to bring down an eye chart-the very top letter was a blur! The then asked me to look at some of the equipment in his lab and asked me to read the labels on them. Well I knew the answers but couldn't read them. He recommended me to his optician who told me a didn't need glasses! He worked at the local hospital as well and saw both private and NHS patients in his own consulting rooms. He did say I had a very slight problem with reading but he wouldn't normally prescribe at that level but as I already had the frames then I could have them made up if I wished. Well the devil in me took me back to the place I had been to before and asked for the lenses to be changed. When I gave her the glasses case she saw that they had provided them and looked up my notes! Seeing the huge difference she concluded when I'd had the tests done there I either hadn't been telling the truth or I had a lazy eye, they were never going to admit it was their fault but it made me feel better! So it may be worth being tested somewhere different as your visual experiences sound a little like my early experience.

  • Hi Silver fox. I don't think my prescription is correct to be honest. I'm long sighted and I need glasses for distances now. The first lenses I couldn't read anything on my computer screen, and worse I couldn't see what speed I was driving at! At night i can't see shapes of vehicles just the huge glare of headlights. But generally my eyes change a lot during the day. If I read my tablet for too long I get very blurry, if I read messages on my phone for too long I get double vision for hours after. I suspect as I wasn't diagnosed for decades my eye muscles aren't working together properly. Also I have PA and that wasn't treated properly for 10 years, so I'm guess my optic nerve is damaged. Now I'm on injections I'm hoping it may improve, but realistically it's probably too late.

    I don't drive at night now, which curbs my social life somewhat, but I live in the sticks and there's no street lighting. I have to use a torch to get to my front door, lol!

    Medics not admitting they're wrong, I don't know what you mean ;-)

  • I e always thought bright lights a thyroid problem but eyes are precious. I think you need to get good professional advice. I think to get that you need to speak to your GP and see what he says

  • I get ' clouds' and 'heat Haze' in my eyes ..apparently nothing to do with thyroid. I got all sort of drops but nothing helps.

  • I've just started on NDT and I swear my eyesight has improved. I used to have to blink and focus when looking into the distance. Now nice and sharp, no straining like before. A few caveats, I've only been on it for 24 hours, I've never taken it before, this is my honest opinion, people may come along and say Im talking rubbish, but this is my honest heartfelt experience. I was sop impressed, I've even started a journal on my experiences, as I've found it very,very surprising.

  • I don't think you're talking rubbish! It was changing to NDT that caused the biggest improvement in my eyesight. On levothyroxine my eyesight did improve a lot compared to pre-diagnosis, but I would get all sorts of weird things happening such as visual migraines and problems with my laptop screen looking pixelated to me when it wasn't. No such issues since being on NDT. Hope things continue to improve for you!

  • Thanks! You put things down to old age (Im 40 :( ) as Im told by my GP constantly. You remember your aging process pre op and I kinda thought I'd aged very well up to the Op, how can I age sooo fast? Bones, joints eyes all in 2 years?Its definitely not ,my meds, my GP and Endo told me so :D .

    Then something like this happens and you realise its a lot to do with your meds rather than genetics. I really thought I'd have to get glasses very soon ,and Bam! Eyes normal. I cant believe it really, its like going back 3 years. (3 years from op, 2 from physical joint problems setting in)

    So glad I can share stuff on here, its an amazing journey, I'd be nowhere nearly as well without this site.

    Every day somethings coming back (still have joint pain) for now, the positives are outweighing the negatives. :)

  • At a recent eyesight test the optician detected ocular motility, which usually is related to hyper/Graves. I have hypo symptoms (not diagnosed) so, like you, was surprised. I have an endo appt tomorrow and will be discussing the eye problem with him, so will report back.

  • Me again - I actually posted a similar question to yours around a month ago - it would be worth having a look at the replies.

  • Thanks for that!

  • Just had a look at your earlier post. I seem to have opened a can of worms! It also looks very much like the luck of the draw as to whether 'experts' agree you can be hypo and have a thyroid eye problem. I've got an appointment for an eye test next week to see if there is a suggestion that needs following up or not. I'm also hoping for a referral to an Endo soon as well so just trying to gather info should I need it. My son works at the local eye clinic but has nothing to do with the thyroid clinic but might ask to see what the general feeling is. May be in the short term they might ask me to be tested yearly so as to see what is happening but I was surprised how quickly my near vision has gone downhill. The young lady who mentioned my thyroid levels etc is going to have a word with the ophthalmologist before my appointment to point out there may be an issue and we'll take it from there. Thanks for your input

  • Hi, well, I went to the appointment this morning and as far as the eye situation is concerned, it was a waste of time as the doctor wasn't interested, encouraging me to talk to my GP about it! He was concentrating on my ME fatigue symptoms and wouldn't be diverted into thyroid issues (though has ordered TSH tests, asserting that this is the most accurate test of all, as well as adrenal tests). So at the moment I can't help until I've seen the GP, I'm afraid. Meanwhile, if you get any further answers, so let me know!

  • Sorry that didn't go well for you. I hope the tests ordered for you throw up some answers and are acted on. Its all a lottery I'm afraid. I can't imagine that the GP will be helpful but you never know! But again may be not all is lost. I've been thinking for the last few months that my glasses prescription was wrong and may be a typing error. I never thought it could be anything else and it may turn out to be that. Once it was mentioned to me that it could be a thyroid issue I posted here as only ever heard of hyper having eye problems and all the replies have been helpful. The person you spoke to though may well be right in telling you to speak to your GP. Although I'm going to have a follow up eye test with the Ophthalmologist being advised as to my medical history I'm told that if in his professional opinion he thinks its a thyroid issue he will write to my GP to say I need a referral to the hospital eye clinic. He can't/won't refer me himself but I expect is because GP's now hold the purse strings. So the person you saw yesterday may have his hands tied and so sending you down a more appropriate avenue. If the GP won't listen then may be you could speak to your optician if you already wear glasses or find a reputable one and take it from there. I shall be posting how I get on and my follow up if that is found to be necessary. Good luck with your problems.

  • Well I had my follow up appointment this morning but something happened last night! No nothing sinister but one of the cushions on my glasses broke off! I worried that the bare metal below was very close to my eye so to prevent any possible damage I got my spare pair of glasses our of the car. Spare is the wrong word really as these were the last prescription prior to my present one and so I keep them in the car should something happen to my present one as I would be safe to drive with them. My vision still seemed fine but by this morning I had read a few things with out having to close one eye which was my original concern! I discussed this with the optician who was very thorough. He checked my previous PVD's were not a problem or the floaters. He checked the pressure and that was fine and asked me no end of questions. I then mentioned the changing of my glasses because the cushion broke off and the fact that my previous pair worked well. I had my eye test which he said my eye sight was very good, with the corrective lenses I could read the bottom line with care. So todays readings were very similar to my previous ones. So why was I struggling? the clue was in the cushion dropping off. This has happened because it wasn't acting like a cushion anymore, more like a flattened cushion so gradually it had changed shaped so the glasses and my eyes were not lined up properly which hadn't really affected the upper distance lens but had the narrow close range part of the verifocals, hence I was struggling to read!

    I now feel rather embarrassed about this! However I am very pleased that the optician picked up on the fact that it might have been a thyroid issue and was more than willing to help me get the proper treatment. I am also grateful to everyone who replied as I expected some one would as this is the beauty of this site, help and/or suggestions are always close at hand. Rest assured your help for me is not wasted as the question and answers are now out there to be accessed by others. The parting words as I left this morning was to see how it goes and to come straight back if any concerns at all. All round a win win situation! Thank you all

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