Thyroid-Associated Orbitopathy

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Thyroid-associated orbitopathy (TAO) is usually diagnosed clinically. Early presentation of TAO such as ocular irritation, lid puffiness, and mild retraction may be overlooked and misdiagnosed. Careful clinical evaluation, laboratory investigations, and orbital imaging studies are needed for diagnosing early TAO. Knowing the pathogenesis will open the door for obtaining directed and effective treatment for the inflammatory process in TAO. Most patients with mild to moderate active TAO are treated with observation alone as the available treatment modalities effective in controlling the disease have many potential side effects. Severe active TAO, compressive optic neuropathy, and severe exposure keratopathy are the main indications for treatment with immunosuppressant agents, orbital radiotherapy, or orbital decompression. Surgery remains the final rehabilitation in TAO, which should be done during cicatricial (inactive) TAO when reliable and stable results can be obtained.

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