Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Hypothyroidism symptoms: Can hypothyroidism cause eye problems?

I know that hyperthyroidism can sometimes affect the eyes — but could hypothyroidism also cause eye problems?

Updated: 12-07-2010

Answer

Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) isn't usually associated with eye disease. In severe cases, however, hypothyroidism may cause swelling around the eyes and a loss of the hairs in the outer part of the eyebrows.

In a few cases, an eye problem known as Graves' ophthalmopathy may develop if hypothyroidism develops after treatment for Graves' disease — the most common form of overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Graves' ophthalmopathy can cause eye discomfort, protruding eyeballs and vision changes.