Thyroid eye disease—also known as TED, Graves’ eye disease, Graves’ ophthalmopathy, and Graves’ orbitopathy—is an autoimmune disease that can damage the tissue around the eyes. It results from thyroid complications, with symptoms occurring from either an overactive or underactive thyroid. Treating thyroid eye disease is crucial to minimize this inflammatory response.
Thyroid eye disease and other symptoms
Signs and symptoms can vary from person to person, but redness, irritation, and discomfort are a few of the more common symptoms of TED. Some people also experience pain when moving their eyes, eyelid retraction, or have a gritty feeling behind the eyelids.
The most noticeable symptom of thyroid eye disease is bulging of the eyes, called proptosis, which can make people look like they are constantly staring. This swelling can lead to additional complications, such as headaches, corneal erosion, and even vision loss. People may also have difficulty closing their eyelids due to the increased size of their eyes, often leading to dryness that can also require treatment. In advanced cases, double vision and light sensitivity sometimes occur, which may be debilitating.
Thyroid eye disease is progressive, meaning symptoms can increase over time, but it usually stops advancing after six months to two years. However, the symptoms can persist beyond disease progression. Treating thryoid eye disease can prevent disease progression and reduce symptoms.
FlexCare has the highest approval rate of second-course Tepezza referrals. Contact us if your second course of treatment was previously denied.
Treating Thyroid Eye Disease
Until recently, those seeking thyroid eye disease medicine didn’t have any specific treatment options for their disease. Eye drops, artificial tears, and ointments can help relieve dryness and discomfort. Dark sunglasses may help with light sensitivity. Specialized lenses or eyepatches can help correct double vision.
Sometimes in more severe cases that involve loss of vision and chronic pain, patients may need to undergo orbital decompression surgery. During this procedure, a surgeon creates additional space near the bones surrounding the eye, allowing the eye to sit in a more natural position.
Another therapy, Orbital radiation therapy, is sometimes used to treat TED by reducing inflammation around the eyes. This usually takes around 6-8 weeks to take effect.
While these methods are still used in some cases, now there’s a more targeted option.
In 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Tepezza (teprotumumab-trbw), an infusion for thyroid eye disease treatment in adults.
Tepezza infusion treatment involves a series of therapy sessions over the course of approximately five months. Patients spend 60 to 90 minutes receiving infusions, and typically receive medicine every three weeks. Of course, this can vary between patients depending on the prescribing doctor’s orders.
In clinical studies, over 70 percent of patients receiving the Tepezza infusion for thyroid eye disease experienced a greater than two-millimeter reduction in proptosis, or bulging of the eyes, a significant improvement.
Seeking treatment for thyroid eye disease
FlexCare Infusion Centers have a higher approval rate for Tepezza infusion treatment referrals than other leading infusion centers. If you have thyroid eye disease or are seeking an infusion for thyroid eye disease after your previous referral was denied, contact a FlexCare team member. Our medical writers are industry leaders in seeking successful Tepezza referral appeals.
Although rare, thyroid eye disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder that can be serious, sometimes resulting in vision loss. Talk with your doctor about treating thyroid eye disease with Tepezza, and ask them to complete and fax or email a Tepezza referral form to FlexCare. We know that seeking treatment can be difficult, and we’re here to help you find relief.