Thyroid UK
87,460 members102,165 posts

Interesting information from optician

Hi all,

I learned something new from a routine optician appointment yesterday, that I thought may be of interest to anyone with dry eyes as one of their thyroid symptoms.

I'm a contact lense wearer and have six monthly check ups as part of my eye health care. Recently, I've experienced dry, gritty eyes, sometimes feeling I can't quite focus properly (either close-up or distance), and my eyes have been unusually 'gunky'.

I told my optician, and also mentioned that I've been diagnosed with a multi-noldular goitre in the past week (having had a hemithyroidectomy 12 years ago, and my mother is hypo). The optician immediately sprang into action! She confirmed that I have 'meibomian gland disfunction', which affects one's ability to produce efficient tears because of a hormone imbalance. She said that thyroid disfunction could be a reason (although couldn't confirm definitively) and noted that the thyroid is "the conductor in the endocrine orchestra". How beautifully put!

I came away with lots of advice on how to alleviate the problem and a follow-up in a month. I was advised to get the underlying hormone imbalance sorted through my GP. I was so grateful to have someone enthusiastic and professional confirm that it's not all in my head - I now have another tangible piece of evidence to take with me to my next GP appointment. Now...that's a whole other story!

Hope this is of help to some of you trying to join the dots.

11 Replies

This is very interesting, I've had dry, gritty eyes for a while now but only thought to mention it to doc a couple of months ago. My eye test in Dec didn't pick anything up but I wasn't impressed with the guy that did it (moved house and area so don't have regular optician). Doc initially gave me eye drops, but now checking thyroid again even though I've not long had medication increased.


How interesting. I had a small meibomain cyst removed from my right temple as i kept catching it with my hairbrush. My then GP (a good one - since retired unfortunately) said he would remove it, and did so in his surgery (he had trained as a plastic surgeon), as he said they could sometimes turn nasty. I wonder if they are connected?


I have same problem was given eye drops funny though went to hosp last month to see eye specialist said he couldnt see anything wrong was only in there 5 minutes though so probably couldnt be bothered havent been checked by optician since feb last year might go back there x


Please make sure there is no benzalkonium chloride inwhatever drops prescribed

really bad news for the cornea not all docs aware of this. Read all about it here:


I have meibomium gland dysfunction (and have had it for years - pre hypo in my case), but have recently been prescribed a 4 month course of antibiotics called lymecycline. I am two months in and have noticed a definite improvement :) I also do lid hygeine and hot compresses (when I am not too lazy). All of these things can really help. xx


I have mgd too and have tried lymecycline. Unfortunately, it made me feel ill so only managed to take it for 3 weeks. What dose were you on?

How are you currently managing your MGD? I do the lid hygiene/hot compresses, but my eyes hurt all the time. The glands get blocked regardless of what I do or don't do. I'm hypothyroid and not yet on a stable dose of levo. Thanks


It was an eye doctor that had my bloods tested for thyroid problems when I was complaining of dry eyes. If he hadn't done the test I don't think I would know that I have Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism now. I use eye drops regularly and go for the single dose units that a preservative free as they don't contain the dodgy preservative: benzalkonium chloride (mentioned by nostoneunturned earlier). Thanks clarebear for your info. I will look into the condition you mentioned as I use eye drops so much I'm beginning to become intolerant to some.


I tried to wear contacts in my 20's, the soft, hydrophyllic ones, but they made my eyes red & sore. My optician said it was because I had very dry eyes and unusual in a young person. Like you I later went on to develop goitre & had hemithyroidectory.

Flo B


That all makes sense!

My optician just said I have dry eyes and should use artificial tears but to be honest they only help a little. I have been getting on/off blurry vision for the past few years too and have glasses for when this happens, although my eyesight's virtually perfect.

At one point my optician thought I had had some kind of accident hurting my eyes, I can only think that me rubbing my eyes constantly made it seem this way! I also get allergies which doesn't help and my eyes are constantly red :(


Morning, How odd that today for first time in ages I looked on here. I went to Boots Opticians last week for eye test. Had been concerned for some time that my eyes had deteriated. I was in with him for over an hour. The test was in depth. I said I had thyroid problems and that I felt my eyes had deteriated since having the thyroid. He was knowledgeable and said that all though not proven the thyroid of course had an effect on muscle function and other areas within the body that affect the eyes. He advised me what to do to look after my eyes, suggested sunglasses particularly for driving and just gave me so much confidence in what he told me. Amazing that even eyes are affected.



My optician (moofields at Boots) said putting pads dipped in warm water helps the ducts function better and we should sit each evening for 10 minutes doing this! Hmm so far not manged that but I use Lacrilube at night and celluvisc during the day.

I have patches of blurryness in the middle of my vision, which was frightening (macular degeneration symptom) but these are improved with sufficient lubrication and up to date glasses prescrition.

Dry eyes are also exacerbated by computer use because we blink fewer times while looking at the screen.

The other problem (along with photophobia!) is aching eye orbit which everyone said was caused by dry eyes (even eye specialists) is completely removed with B12 injections!!!!! The muscles of the eye must be compromised- myeline sheath?

Thanks for all of this info...

By the way blurry vision is a B12 deficiency symptom too.


You may also like...