Orbit & optic nerve

Dysthyroid ophthalmopathy

Last author update: 1 February 2014
Last staff update: 27 June 2020

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PubMed Search: Dysthyroid ophthalmopathy [title]

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Dysthyroid ophthalmopathy. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/eyeorbitdysthyroid.html. Accessed September 28th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Most common cause of orbital disease and exophthalmos
  • Associated with hyperthyroidism or thyroid related treatment, although patient may be hyper, hypo or euthyroid at the time
  • Usually bilateral but may be unilateral
  • Most cases are not biopsied
Gross description
  • Marked enlargement of extraocular muscles
Clinical images

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Upper lid retraction and exophthalmos

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Severe restriction of the inferior rectus and upgaze

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Severe edema and chronic inflammation of orbital tissues
  • Degeneration and hyalinization of extraocular muscles with increase in interstitial connective tissue in muscles and other orbital tissue
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