Thyroid Eye Disease

Orbital Decompression

Occasionally, patients may experience thyroid eye disease before they develop detectable abnormalities in thyroid function. In thyroid eye disease, the tissues around the eye become swollen and cause the eyes to bulge forward. Sometimes, the swollen tissues may compress the optic nerve and cause gradual vision loss.

Patients suffering from thyroid eye disease may experience:

  • Pain in the eyes, especially when looking up, down or sideways
  • Dry, itchy or bloodshot eyes
  • Swelling of the eye and surrounding tissue
  • Bulging of the eyes
  • Double vision
  • Impaired vision

Dr. Michael McCracken can treat thyroid eye disease with orbital decompression surgery. Orbital decompression surgery involves expanding the orbit by removing the bones around the eye and excising fat around the eye. This provides more room for the swollen tissue around the eyes so that the eye can move back in the eye socket and the pressure on the optic nerve can be relieved.

The orbital decompression procedure is performed through incisions hidden in the upper eyelid crease and the outside corner of the eye (“crow’s feet”). An endoscopic approach through the nose may also be used. The procedure takes one to two hours and is performed in the operating room with the patient under general anesthesia. Often, the patient will stay one night in the hospital, although in certain cases, the procedure may be performed on an outpatient basis. Many patients can return to normal activities, including wearing makeup and contacts, within a week.

Dr. McCracken will meet with you to assess your individual situation and discuss any possible risks that you may experience. Request an appointment online or call the McCracken Eye and Face Institute today to set up an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Michael McCracken.

Eyelid Retraction Repair

One of the most common manifestations of thyroid eye disease is eyelid retraction, a condition in which the upper and lower eyelids pull away from their normal position over the cornea. Eyelid retraction often gives the appearance of bulging eyes.

More importantly, when the eyelids don’t protect the eye properly, it can cause many problems for the patient, including:

  • Significant discomfort
  • Dry, “gritty” feeling eyes
  • Decreased vision
  • Excessive and chronic tearing
  • Eye infections
  • The appearance of bulging eyes

Dr. Michael McCracken performs eyelid retraction repair through a small incision hidden in the natural eyelid fold. During the surgery, the muscle that retracts the eyelid is loosened to allow the eyelid to return to its natural position. In the lower eyelid, a spacer graft may be placed to help hold the eyelid up. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and can be done with local anesthesia in the office or in the operating room with IV sedation. Postoperative discomfort is minimal, and most patients can return to normal activities within a week. Patients can usually wear makeup and contacts within a week.

Dr. McCracken will meet with you to assess your individual situation and discuss any possible risks that you may experience. Request an appointment online or call the McCracken Eye and Face Institute today at 720-851-6600 to set up an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Michael McCracken.