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Old 03-21-2003, 02:02 AM   #1
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Post Help...Thyroid problems and dry eyes

Hi,

Just wondering if anyone out there understands or can explain to me the link between dry eyes and thyroid problems. I have very dry eyes as the oil glands in my eyelids get clogged and blocked (the composition of oil in the gland has become thicker than normal for some reason). This causes the watery layer of my tears to evaporate very quickly as the oily layer of the tear is defective.

I have thyroid antibodies and have not yet been tested for T3, T4 etc and although my TSH is in the normal range, I have most of the symptoms of Hashimotos disease.

Could someone please explain how an underactive thyroid results in dry eyes (what makes this happen)??
Has anyone had success in making their eyes feel any better/less dry???

I would appreciate any help..thanks

 
Old 03-21-2003, 05:43 AM   #2
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From what I understand, dry eyes are caused by a combination whammy. Thyroid antibodies attack the glands that produce tears and also alter the composition of the tears, which should be comprised of a balanced combination of watery liquid, oil, and mucin. Another problem is that hypothyroidism causes malabsorption of vitamin A, which is vital to tear production and overall health of the eye. (A clear sign of vitamin A deficiency is yellow soles and palms; but the yellow color will not show up in the whites of the eye, only in the skin.)

Artificial tears should make your eyes feel better, but read labels. Any product that contains preservatives may actually cause damage to the cornea and make the problem worse, especially with overuse. A preservative-free formula is not only better for your eyes, but can be used almost as often as needed.


[This message has been edited by midwest1 (edited 03-21-2003).]
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Old 03-21-2003, 07:49 AM   #3
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Hi,
I have hashi's too and was recently diagnosed with dry eyes. I have been wearing contacts for 12 years and never had any problems until recently (I have only recently developed hashi's). I went to my eye dr and she said my eyes were extremely dry. She did some sort of tear test, where they put a small strip of paper up to your eye for a couple minutes. Apparently I dont produce hardly any tears. I had to stop wearing my contacts for over a month because of it and because of corneal distortion. In order to wear contacts again, she convinced me to get punctal plugs, they plug the bottom tear ducts so the tears cannot drain. I had temporary ones put in on monday, but am not noticing a difference.

If you do have dry eyes and dry mouth, it could be sjogren's syndrome. Its another autoimmune disease, and since you have one autoimmune disease you could have others. its when antibodies are made against the tear producing glands, and the salivary glands.

good luck

[This message has been edited by Daisy22 (edited 03-21-2003).]

 
Old 03-21-2003, 08:33 AM   #4
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Hi Ronaldo1
I have Hashi's and had horribly dry eyes since last July. I went to my regular eye doctor and also a specialist. He couldn't find anything out of the ordinary so treated me for "dry eyes". I used a lot of different drops but they didn't help. My eyes are much better and don't bother me as much in the last month or so. Could be because changed medications also. Dry eyes is a symptom of a thyroid disorder.

 
Old 03-21-2003, 04:22 PM   #5
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Bellajoon,

Thanks for your response.

What made your eyes feel better?? Was it the medication that they gave you for treating the thyroid problem? I use Genteal gel duirng the day and an ointment at night to relieve the dryness. Since I have yet to be assesed for hashimotos, I have not made any progress with improvement of my eyes and have only been treated for the dry eye symptoms so far.

I have been tested for sjogrens but so far do not have the antibodies although I know that they do not always show up in the bloodwork anyway.


 
Old 03-22-2003, 08:41 AM   #6
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Ronaldo1
While experiencing the dry eyes, I was given 2 different drops, but nothing helped. I changed my medication from Synthyroid to Thyrolar, which has T3. Since dry eyes is sometimes a symtom of Hashis, I am thinking that since I have been taking the new medication, and lately haven't had very many episodes of dry eyes, hopefully it won't come back. I am sorry that you are having this problem, because I felt like crying while at work, because nothing helped me. My doctors didn't help either, kind of dismissing me. Maybe you should get tested for a thyroid disease, and then can get medicine that will alleviate your symptoms. Good luck to you!

 
Old 03-22-2003, 07:17 PM   #7
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Christine,
Yes I finally made my post. Its listed as "This is my story ". Not many post on it over the past few days. Its been bumped down on the list so may have to look for it.

Anyway would like for you to read it and get your input.
Not much time for the internet right now. I have 2 kids playing ball so 3 hours friday night and 3 hours again today. Eyes are really bad. So dry and sore tonight from the wind today. Plus pollen count is very high. my white car is green... UGGGGG.....

Hope to hear from you soon.
Kay

 
Old 03-23-2003, 02:14 AM   #8
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Bellajoon,
You have just made my day! I am now starting to hold out some hope that if I get treated for the thyroid problem that this may alleviate the severe dryness I am experiencing in both eyes. They are just so incredibly uncomfortable today and most days.

Can you please tell me how long you took the medication before you felt an improvement in the dryness of your eyes? In your case, was your TSH above the normal range or were you treated on the basis of thyroid antibodies /symptons with TSH in normal range??? I am praying that the doctor that I am seeing for the first time on friday is willing to treat me for my symptoms and the presence of antibodies as when I was last tested my TSH was 1.17 which is still well in the normal range. I really need some relief for my eyes. The gels and ointments, warm compresses and eyelid scrubs do not go far enough in providing relief for the dryness.

Kay, I am SO happy that you have posted on this board. I read your story with great interest and based on what you said I think that we have the same problem....probably hypo with severely dry eyes. Based on Bellajoon's post above, maybe there is some hope for us to find relief with our eye symptoms once we get treated for the thyroid problems.


 
Old 03-24-2003, 08:16 AM   #9
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Ronaldo1
It took about a month when I first started seeing an improvement. I was very glad because I was so miserable with dry eyes that I rubbed my eyelids until they were red. Since the new medication, the dry eyes is the only symptom that seems to have subsided. I still have the major fatigue, dry hair and skin, fingernails are brittle and cracked. I think my TSH was around 4.85 when I switched thyroid meds. I am waiting results this week to see where I am at. I have an 18 year old son with Hashis and he has been experiencing a little dryness in the eyes and a lot of redness. He has been on Synthyroid .50 for a few years. I guess I now have to worry about if his medicine needs adjustment or switched too. I hope you find relief soon because it is very awful to sit at work or even at home with the watering and itching. Have you had your T3 and T4 measured? I think that is important along with TSH. Unfortunately a lot of doctors don't test anything other than TSH. I had to ask for it, but didn't realize this time around he didn't order it. I was a little upset, but will definately watch for it next time. Hope this helps.

 
Old 03-25-2003, 05:16 PM   #10
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ronaldo1 I have a few questions for you.

I am trying to understand the hashimotos and how it is different from just hyper or hypo. Maybe you or someone on this board could help me.

I have symptoms from both list. I am either hot or cold never comfortable. When I check my temp. when I am cold its around 97.4 when I am hot its around 99.3.
My symptoms always get worse between ovalation and the time my period starts. My last thyroid test was 7 maybe 8 years ago. Which I was just told its normal.

My major problems right now is dry eyes with blocked ducts in the eye lids. Plus staying so tired, sweating, very dry skin, and Hair falling out. Which I could just cry over the hair thing. My hair at one time was very thick and naturally curly. Now its thin all over and keeps getting worse.

Ok this is my ? how can a person have symptoms from both list? Is this common? I am still without insurance but working on finding a job. (I have a number of leads right now and hope to have a job in a month or so) I plan a visit to my doctor making sure they do every thyroid test possible on me before I leave. I find it odd that my mother has a lot of the same problems They check her thyroid each year and tell her the same thing its Normal. Her mother had thyroid problems for years.

Well any input would be great.
Thanks Kay

 
Old 03-25-2003, 06:37 PM   #11
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Hi Ronaldo. I found some notes from an old post back in 2001:

Quote:
I've noticed a lot of eye strain, itching, and intolerance for my contact lenses. My eyes are very dry and sting when I wake up in the morning. And, at night, they water quite a bit for no apparent reason.

This is apparently common for those of use with Thyroid antibodies (Hashimoto's) and for hyperthyroid (Grave's) patients as well. There are some named conditions ("Thyroid Eye Disease" and "Grave's Opthalmopathy"), but descriptions and pictures of the more severe cases are a bit off-putting, so I'm being selective in the websites I list below. Hyperthyroid folks typically have a "thyroid stare" (like typical staring into space, but a bit more often), and may have eyes that are slightly bulging in appearance.

I really like the moisturizing-type of Visine for its soothing properties. It's one of the only things that doesn't sting, and it doesn't have the redness-out ingredient (which the docs say we should avoid for this sort of thing). Keeping my eyes moist really seems to help a lot. And I'm learning to like my glasses.

Here's a good link about eye symptoms: [url="http://thyroid.about.com/library/weekly/aa091399.htm"]http://thyroid.about.com/library/weekly/aa091399.htm[/url]


Be sure to mention these symptoms to your doctor. And to your eye care professional (if you have one).


 
Old 03-25-2003, 06:43 PM   #12
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KayKay: When a person has thyroid antibodies, it is not unusual to have symptoms that are a combination of hypo and hyper (or to fluctuate back and forth between the two). It sounds like it's time for another set of tests for you.

If possible, you and your mother should try to see an Endocrinologist who specializes in Thyroid Disease (as opposed to diabetes or some other endocrine disorder). Ask for, at a minimum, testing of Free T3, Free T4, TSH and Thyroid Antibodies. There are many different types of antibodies, but folks with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis typically have Antimicrosomal Antibodies (also known as TPO or Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies) and, sometimes, AntiThyroglobulin Antibodies.

Certain supplements such as Selenium and Maca may help with your symptoms and with the antibodies.

If you've not yet had a chance, read through our Information Archive thread. It has a ton of useful things regarding blood tests, questions to ask doctors, interpreting various tests, supplements that may help, a link to patient-recommended Top Docs, and much more.

[url="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/Forum118/HTML/000005.html"]http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/Forum118/HTML/000005.html[/url]

And don't settle for being told that your results are "normal." Get copies of all your test results. Those lab ranges vary, and your "normal" test could be on the low or high end of the range (which may not be "normal" for you).

Hang in there.

[This message has been edited by ArtfulD (edited 03-25-2003).]

 
Old 03-28-2003, 01:40 AM   #13
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Just saw the endocrinologist and he said that dry eyes is a problem with Graves rather than Hashi. Does this sound right??? I have Hashi (though still undiagnosed) and very dry eyes and he does not think the two are related??

 
Old 03-28-2003, 01:40 AM   #14
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Just saw the endocrinologist and he said that dry eyes is a problem with Graves rather than Hashi. Does this sound right??? I have Hashi (though still undiagnosed) and very dry eyes and he does not think the two are related??

 
Old 03-28-2003, 07:36 PM   #15
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Certain eye problems are prevalent with Grave's Disease (such as bulging eyeballs). However, your doctor may not be familiar with it as a symptom for Hashi's, but dry eyes are quite common. The good news is that it comes and goes, so it's not likely to be a problem all the time. I find it to be worse during the humid months, personally, which seems backward to me...

Here's a link about Hashi's you may find interesting:
[url="http://www.ecureme.com/emyhealth/data/Hashimoto's_Thyroiditis.asp"]http://www.ecureme.com/emyhealth/data/Hashimoto's_Thyroiditis.asp[/url]


 
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