Red eyes, dry eyes and thyroid disease

October 18, 2011 — by William Goldstein
Tags: Restasis Allergy Eyes Blepharitis Artificial Tears Dry Eye Syndrome

A patient asked me today if his chronic red eyes really "mean anything". When I asked him what he meant, he said that his eyes feel better due to the dry eye treatment with Restasis, but that the redness had not completely resolved. This lead us to a pretty interesting discussion about red eyes, local diseases of the eye, and what systemic (whole body) problems can lead to red eyes.To put it in simplest form, redness is a sign of irritation. This can be due to dry eyes, allergies, infection, or inflammation, and can range from mild to severe. Many patients do not even feel that there is a problem, but notice redness when they look in the mirror.The first line of treatment is to use soothing lubricant drops, or artificial tears. Visine and other 'get the red out' drops are only to be used occasionally, not long-term, but tears can be used forever if they are working. If tears and other local treatments are not working, then other causes should be considered. Thyroid disease can be linked to dryness, and chronic red eyes. Other more rare causes would include some of the autoimmune diseases such as Lupus or Rheumatoid Disease. Blood tests can help confirm these problems, and sometimes treatment of the entire body is needed, with the red eyes resolving at the same time.It is most likely that if you have red eyes, it is from dry eye, blepharitis or allergies, but if you have concerns, or if eyedrops are failing to help, come see Dr. Goldstein. Call 586-323-2020, or request an appointment online at his website,