09 November 2022
prevent blindness, the nation’s leading nonprofit eye health and safety organization, has declared November 14-20, 2022 as its third annual “Thyroid Eye Disease Awareness Week” (TED). TED, sometimes called Graves’ ophthalmopathy or Graves’ eye disease, is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system causes inflammation and swelling and stimulates the production of muscle and fat tissue behind the eye.
To help raise awareness and provide free educational content to patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals, Prevent Blindness offers TED fact sheets and social media graphics in English and Spanish, and a dedicated web page. Also available is the episode “Thyroid Eye Disease” from Spotlight on Eye Health Expert Series, with Prevent Blindness President and CEO Jeff Todd interviewing Sara Wester, MD, FACS, professor of clinical ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, and TED patient Stephen Bander. TED Awareness Week is supported by horizon therapya global biotechnology company focused on rare, autoimmune and serious inflammatory diseases.
Risk factors for TED include:
- grave’s disease
- Low levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism)
- Age: It usually affects middle-aged adults, but can occur at any age.
- Gender: Women are more affected than men.
- Family history of thyroid eye disease
- Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of thyroid eye disease by 7-8 times, causes thyroid eye disease to have a longer “active phase,” and reduces the effectiveness of treatments.
- Radioactive iodine therapy: Radioactive iodine has been used to treat hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease. This treatment should be used with caution in people with active thyroid eye disease, as it may worsen the condition unless steroids are given at the same time.
- Low blood levels of selenium, a dietary mineral.
TED can cause eye pain, double vision, vision loss, and changes in physical appearance that can negatively affect quality of life. Some TED patients experience depression, anxiety, loss of independence, and reduced self-confidence.
To help address this, the no-cost program “Art therapy program to prevent blindness” for TED People and Their Carers, now in its second session, gives participants the opportunity to create art using a variety of artistic mediums to express thoughts and feelings. Participants also interact with registered art therapists who tailor the show’s topics, themes and materials to those affected by TED. The benefits of the Art Therapy program include:
- Art therapy has been shown to help people improve their mental, emotional, and even physical well-being.
- The process of creating art in a group setting can help reduce anxiety and depression, provide a way to creatively express difficult emotions, and reduce isolation, which could be particularly important for people experiencing the challenging symptoms of TED .
- The opportunity to help people build new connections, help themselves and help others by sharing stories and experiences.
Those interested in participating in the next session can sign up for the Art Therapy Program to Prevent Blindness Waiting list. This program is financially supported by Horizon Therapeutics.
“By giving TED patients and their caregivers the information and tools they need to understand thyroid eye disease, as well as offering the Prevent Blindness Art Therapy Program to help address its mental health impact, we can help minimize the negative effect that TED often has. said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness.
To learn more about TED, visit https://preventblindness.org/thyroid-eye-disease/ either FOCUSonTED.com. For more information on the art therapy program to prevent blindness, visit https://preventblindness.org/events/art-therapy-fall-2022/.
About Prevent Blindness
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading voluntary eye health and safety organization dedicated to combating blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community service programs, and for patients and research. These services are made possible by the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, Prevent Blindness is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in the United States. For more information, visit us at preventblindness.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
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