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May 1962

Ophthalmopathy Associated with Graves' Disease: Unusual Clinical Manifestations and Their Management

Author Affiliations


Section of Medicine (Dr. Scholz), Emeritus Member, Section of Medicine (Dr. Haines), and Section of Ophthalmology (Dr. Henderson), Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.

Arch Intern Med. 1962;109(5):526-535. doi:10.1001/archinte.1962.03620170024004

The clinical features and course of ophthalmopathy associated with Graves' disease may be exceedingly diverse and unpredictable. The ophthalmopathy may be characterized by exophthalmos of varying degrees, retraction of the eyelids, edema of the contents of the orbit and adnexa, chemosis and congestion of the surface of the eye, and, not infrequently, ophthalmoplegia. These protean manifestations may occur in various combinations or as isolated findings. Severe progressive ocular changes may occur at any time during the course of Graves' disease. However, it is noteworthy that they often accompany extremely mild Graves' disease and may become more severe during the period of recovery from hyperthyroidism regardless of the method of treatment used. In fact, the characteristic ophthalmopathy of Graves' disease may occur in patients who do not show any other clinical or laboratory evidence of the disease. Frank manifestations of Graves' disease subsequently develop in some of these patients.

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