Thyroid Eye Disease vs Graves’ Disease

Thyroid Eye Disease and Graves’ disease are NOT the same

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) is a unique condition. But it’s often considered part of a separate disorder called Graves’ disease. Why the confusion? Well, despite their differences, the two share a number of similarities. For starters, TED goes by many names. Some people may call it “Graves’ disease eyes.”

6 commonly used terms for Thyroid Eye Disease (TED)

  • Graves’ ophthalmopathy (GO)
  • Thyroid-associated orbitopathy (TAO)
  • Thyroid ophthalmopathy
  • Graves' orbitopathy
  • Graves' eye disease
  • Graves' disease eyes

Thyroid Eye Disease Thyroid Eye Disease Thyroid Eye Disease

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED)

Adding to the confusion is the fact that people with Graves’ disease often develop TED. However, a person can develop TED without having Graves’ disease.


Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) and Grave’s disease are often linked

Graves’ Disease statistics representing how up to half of Graves’ patients will develop TED Graves’ Disease statistics representing how up to half of Graves’ patients will develop TED Graves’ Disease statistics representing how up to half of Graves’ patients will develop TED

Up to 5 out of every 10 people with Graves’ disease
will develop TED

Graves’ disease statistics showing how 8 out of 10 people with Thyroid Eye Disease receive a diagnosis within 18 months of a Graves’ Disease diagnosis Graves’ disease statistics showing how 8 out of 10 people with Thyroid Eye Disease receive a diagnosis within 18 months of a Graves’ Disease diagnosis Graves’ disease statistics showing how 8 out of 10 people with Thyroid Eye Disease receive a diagnosis within 18 months of a Graves’ Disease diagnosis

8 out of 10 people with TED get diagnosed
within 18 months of a
Graves’ disease diagnosis

The similarities don’t stop there. Both TED and Graves’ disease are serious autoimmune conditions, meaning the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue.
But a key difference is that each condition affects a different part of the body. That’s why treatment for Graves’ disease won’t work for TED. And TED treatment won’t work for Graves’ disease.


Key differences between Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) and Graves’ disease

Thyroid Eye Disease affects a different part of the body than Grave's Disease Thyroid Eye Disease affects a different part of the body than Grave's Disease

Part of your body involved

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED)

  • Eyes

Graves’ Disease

  • Thyroid

Thyroid Eye Disease has a different cause than Graves’ Disease Thyroid Eye Disease has a different cause than Graves’ Disease

What happens inside the body

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED)

  • The immune system causes the muscle and fat tissue behind the eye to become inflamed and swollen
  • Over time, the swelling can cause permanent changes to the eyes

Graves’ disease

  • The immune system attacks the thyroid gland
  • This causes the thyroid to become overactive, also known as hyperthyroidism
  • As a result, the body’s metabolism can speed up

Thyroid Eye Disease has different symptoms than Graves’ Disease Thyroid Eye Disease has different symptoms than Graves’ Disease

Signs & Symptoms

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED)

  • Dry, gritty eyes
  • Eyelid redness and swelling
  • Watery, teary eyes
  • Bulging eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Double vision

Graves’ disease

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Tiredness
  • Too much sweating, sensitivity to temperature
  • Unhealthy weight loss

TED is different than Graves’ disease and requires different treatment

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Have Graves’ disease and are experiencing eye symptoms? Find a TED specialist near you and request a baseline eye exam.