Kimberly Cockerham, MD, Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, Stanford Department of Ophthalmology, talks about quality of life concerns in people with thyroid eye disease (TED).

TED is a condition that often occurs in persons with Graves disease – a rare immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). During the initial acute phase of TED, signs and symptoms, such as eye pain, swelling, proptosis and diplopia, progress over time. Historically, this progression slows over time and this is referred to as the chronic phase. In other words, the symptoms continue but the progression slows or stops. 

At the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society (NANOS) 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting, Dr. Cockerham presented survey data focused on the quality of life of persons with acute vs chronic phases of TED. As Dr. Cockerham explains, the quality of life remains poor in these individuals, regardless if they are in the acute or chronic phase of the condition. 

In the study, quality of life was measured using the Graves’ Ophthalmopathy Quality of Life Questionnaire (GO-QOL) instrument. Scores range from 0 (worst) to 100 (best), with a score of 90-100 considered normal. In the survey, GO-QOL scores were approximately in the 60 point range across examined categories. Surprisingly, interventions such as surgery and use of glucocorticoids did not lead to a higher quality of life in patients with chronic TED.

To learn more about this and other endocrine related disorders, go to