Treatment of acute Graves orbitopathy

Ophthalmology. 1991 Sep;98(9):1443-8. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(91)32114-6.


The therapeutic options for the treatment of acute Graves orbitopathy include high-dose oral corticosteroids, surgical decompression, and radiotherapy. The former two treatments are associated with significant morbidity. Although there have been a number of reports of the efficacy of radiotherapy, its role in the management of this disease is still questioned. The authors reviewed 84 cases of acute Graves orbitopathy treated with either high-dose systemic corticosteroids or radiotherapy (2000 rad to each involved orbit). Radiotherapy resulted in significant improvement in subjective and objective signs of orbital congestion and was more effective than high-dose corticosteroids in relieving compressive optic neuropathy. Of the patients with compressive optic neuropathy, only 1 of 29 treated with radiotherapy required surgical decompression, whereas, 6 of 16 treated with corticosteroids required surgery. This study suggests that radiotherapy has greater efficacy and fewer complications than high-dose systemic corticosteroids in the treatment of acute Graves orbitopathy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graves Disease / drug therapy
  • Graves Disease / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orbital Diseases / drug therapy
  • Orbital Diseases / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones