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Discovering the Link Between Thyroid and Dry Eyes

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Written by- Gina Walters

Dry eyes is a common issue among people with increased age. 

Numerous factors, including age, medications, and environmental circumstances, might contribute to dry eyes. 

However, dry eyes could also result from thyroid issues, a lesser-known underlying cause.

Apart from regulating several biological processes, thyroid glands also play an essential role in tear production.

In this article, we will discover the connection between thyroid and dry eyes and possible treatment options.

Besides thyroid, several other factors can lead to dry eye. Read our article: Common Dry Eye Causes and Effects, to learn about the different causes of dry eye and their effects.

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Closeup of a dry eye

The link between thyroid and dry eyes is not established yet.

The thyroid is a small hormone-secreting gland in front of the neck. 

Thyroid disorders stimulate the thyroid gland to produce these hormones either in excess or insufficiently. 

The disease can lead to several symptoms, some of which can affect the eyes. 

Dry eye is one of the outcomes of thyroid disease.

When one has dry eyes, either not enough tears are produced in the eyes, or the tears evaporate too soon.

This may lead to increased light sensitivity, impaired vision, and eye discomfort.

Seeking appropriate medical attention is essential if you think you might have an underlying thyroid disease causing dry eyes.

The exact process by which thyroid disease may impact the eyes is yet unknown to scientists and medical experts. 

However, it appears that individuals with thyroid illness are more likely to have the following eye concerns, leading to dry eyes:

  • Decreased sensitivity in the corne
  • Less tear production and quicker tear evaporation, all of which may enhance dry eye
  • Reduction in the nerve fibers within the cornea, the transparent layer that covers the iris, lens, and retina at the back of the eye
  • Swollen eyes, which may potentially be a contributing factor in dry eye

More research is required to fully understand the link between thyroid and dry eyes.

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Can thyroid cause dry eyes

Yes, dry eye is one of the common symptoms of thyroid disease.

Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism are two major forms of thyroid.

In Hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland produces fewer hormones, whereas in Hyperthyroidism, the gland secretes hormones in excess.

Both Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism may lead to dry eyes.

Usually, Hypothyroidism does not lead to dry eyes or any other eye problems.

However, in severe cases, it can induce swelling around the eyes and inflammation of the tear ducts near the eyes.

This, in turn, restricts the tear production, leading to dry eyes.

On the other hand, Hyperthyroidism patients are more susceptible to experiencing eye issues.

This is especially true for people with the most prevalent kind of Hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease. 

These people may suffer from thyroid eye disease, commonly referred to as Graves’ Ophthalmopathy, that causes inflammation in tear-producing glands.

Less tears may result in dry eyes, changes in eyesight, and bulging eyeballs.

Thyroid disorder not only affects your physical well-being but also deteriorates your eye health. Take appropriate measures to protect your vision today.

Treating thyroid-induced dry eye 

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Consult a doctor

Treating the underlying thyroid disease is usually the first line of treatment for dry eyes caused by thyroid disorders. 

Synthetic thyroid hormone replacement therapy is often used to treat Hypothyroidism. 

This, in turn, hydrates the eyes  once again and helps in controlling thyroid hormone levels. 

Medication or radioactive iodine therapy are the usual treatments for Hyperthyroidism, which lower thyroid hormone levels.

For dry eye treatment your doctor may also suggest medications, such as eye drops, ocular lubricants, anti-inflammatory medications, and oral antibiotics.

These dry eye medications  aid in overcoming complications associated with dry eyes, thus preserving your sight.

Along with medical treatments, several self-care techniques can aid in overcoming dry eye symptoms linked to thyroid issues. 

These include the use of artificial tears, taking breaks from extended visual work, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding dry air, smoke, and wind—all of which can worsen dry eyes.

Dry eyes can also be treated with supplements along with medical approaches. Read our article: The Ultimate Guide to Supplements for Dry Eyes to learn more.


Dry eyes can affect a person’s overall well-being and quality of life.

Apart from other potential causes, dry eyes could be a symptom of thyroid disease.

However, the relationship between thyroid issues and dry eyes is a complicated and frequently ignored subject. 

Whether you have a thyroid problem or not, getting the right medical attention if you have dry eyes is essential to identify the underlying cause and receive proper treatment.  

You can reduce your risk of complications and enhance your quality of life by taking measures to treat your dry eyes and thyroid condition.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can thyroid issues cause dry eyes?

Dry eyes and other ocular symptoms can occasionally be brought on by autoimmune thyroid disorders. 
It can happen when thyroid antibodies trigger the immune system to attack the muscles and tissues surrounding the eyes.

How can you tell whether your eyes are being affected by your thyroid?

The eyes may bulge or stare forward due to this inflammation or become red and swell around the eyes and eyelids. 
In some people, the inflammation may affect the muscles around the eyes, pushing them out of alignment and causing double vision.

How are dry eyes caused by Hypothyroidism treated?

Eye drops or oral medications can be used to treat dry eye associated with thyroid conditions. 
A physician can assist you in managing both your thyroid issue and dry eyes.

Do dry eyes with thyroid return to normal?

It is uncommon for the eyes to change again once they have stabilized. 
While the eyes recover to normal in some people, permanent abnormalities remain in others. 
While plenty can be done to treat these illnesses medically, some people require surgery to overcome their symptoms.

How beneficial is Vitamin D for thyroid eye disease?

For people with Graves’ disease, Vitamin D treatment may help reduce the chance of developing thyroid eye disease (TED) and possible eye injury.

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