Last week, I went to the eye doctor for the first time in almost two years. I received some incredible news. Not only are my eyes healthy after dealing with Thyroid Eye Disease for two and a half years but the keratoconus I deal with hasn’t changed since 2019. After going through hell with my eyes, I can proudly say I’ve come a long way and I’m in pretty good shape. Thyroid eye disease can impact the optic nerve because the swelling from TED squeezes the muscles around the eye causing damage. Both of my optic nerves are healthy and well.
Though, it wasn’t easy in the slightest. I look at photos from 2019 and I can feel how uncomfortable and swollen my eyes were. At the time, I dealt with it as best I could. I couldn’t relieve the uncomfortable swelling, I just had to get through it. It’s only when looking back do I realize how bad the thyroid eye disease really was. It sucked. It was one of the worst things I have ever endured in my life. I hated every second of it. Double vision, light sensitivity, upper, eyelid retractions on both eyes, depth perception issues, dry eyes, uncomfortable swelling, and migraines. It was all horrible.
I tried steroids but they ended up hurting me much more than they helped. So I just had to wait. Wait for my body to calm down and heal. It took a whole lot of time. Time was really the only thing I could count on. When I was experiencing it, I tried not to complain. Complaining wouldn’t help things. Sure, I’m human and there were moments where I felt depressed by it but it could have been so much worse.
I’m almost three years into this and I’m very happy to say I’m on the downward slope of this disease. I no longer have double vision and the swelling has gone down quite a bit. The migraines have improved as the swelling improves. I don’t have dry eyes and I’m no longer uncomfortable every day. The light sensitivity has lessened tremendously. My right eyelid is doing quite well and is no longer retracted. My left eyelid is a few months behind the right eyelid but is slowly catching up. I still have depth perception issues on occasion but being aware of it helps me not run into things (most of the time).
I wasn’t a glasses wearer before this. I had glasses but I didn’t wear them often. I now wear glasses all the time. I think that’s partly why my eyes are in good health now. I recognize how important it was to wear them when I had double vision and had to get a stick on prism to help me see one instead of two. Plus, glasses act as a barrier between my fingers in my eyes. I haven’t rubbed my eyes in over two years and I have no plans on rubbing them ever again.
One thing I learned through this experience that I think everyone should be aware of is that it’s so important to take care of your eyes. Whether it’s wearing blue light glasses when looking at screens or wearing your glasses more if you don’t wear contacts. Wearing sunglasses when in the sun. For people with cornea diseases, do not rub your eyes unless you want things to get worse.
There was nothing I did to cause TED. I had noticeable swelling over Labor Day in 2018. Then a month later, I woke up with double vision. It was scary and uncomfortable and difficult but I got through it. I went through hell and back with my eyes but the eye doctor did a normal eye exam with eyes and he was able to get 20/20 easily. When I was going through it with TED, the eye doctor was only able to get me to 20/40. Being treated as a normal eye patient is a success in my book.
About six months into TED, steroids caused my vision to plummet. It was awful. I had to get new temporary glasses to deal with the sudden changes. I got them when I still had moon face and swollen eyes. I wore those glasses for two years. Those glasses always reminded me of what I had been through. When I got my eyes checked, I was able to get some new glasses. New glasses for a new chapter of my life.