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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Sep;13(7):280-7.

Graves' ophthalmopathy: a rational approach to treatment.

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  • 1Dept Endocrinology and Metabolism, Academic Medical Center F5-171, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The past decade has witnessed great progress in our understanding of Graves' opthalmopathy (GO), although its precise immunopathogenesis remains an enigma. Several clinical studies have provided a more rational basis for treatment of this distressing disease, which significantly lowers the quality of life. A management plan tailored to the patient's needs can be devised according to the severity and activity of the eye disease. In active GO, immunosuppression might be considered. The combination of intravenous pulses of methylprednisolone and retrobulbar irradiation improves eye changes in 88% of patients, and is well tolerated. Once the disease has become inactive, rehabilitative surgery could be performed (orbital decompression, strabismus surgery and eyelid surgery, in that order). The patient should be reassured that functional and cosmetic improvement of eye changes is feasible, but restoration can require one to two years. To a certain extent, refraining from smoking prevents the development or worsening of GO.

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