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Thyroid eye disease is the most frequent inflammation of the orbit of the eyes. It is also the most common manifestation in patients with Graves' disease.
Although it is frequently associated with hyperthyroidism, it can appear in people with hypothyroidism or those with no history of thyroid gland problems.
The disease usually affects both eyes (85-95%) and, more frequently, women. However, it appears most frequently in two age bands: for women, 40-44 and 60-64 years old, and, in men, between 45-49 years and 65-69 years.
What is the eye orbit?
To fully understand what thyroid orbitopathy is, you need to appreciate what the eye orbit is. It is the bony cavity that houses the eyeball and other structures, such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles and fat. When the orbit is inflamed, changes occur in it and to the surrounding orbital tissues. For example, there is an increase in volume of extraocular muscles and orbital fat. This can result in "bulging eyes" or exophthalmos.
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Substantiated information by:
Jessica Matas Fassi
Published: 14 June 2022
Updated: 22 June 2022
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