Thyroid and Eye: Where They Meet in Clinical Practice

Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2020;20(1):39-49. doi: 10.2174/1871530319666190618120107.


Objective: Thyroid Hormones (TH) are essential for normal growth, development and continued optimal function of most of the body organs including the eye. TH signaling plays a central role in the regulation of retinal development and maturation. Deficiency in TH during fetal and early postnatal development impairs growth of the eye and proliferation of all retinal cell types. The present article reviews the most important topics of the different derangements in thyroid function and structure and its relation with eye diseases.

Methods: A literature search strategy was conducted for all English-language literature.

Results: From a clinical practice viewpoint, it should be mentioned that both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are accompanied by ocular diseases i.e. thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. Although the orbit and globe are not common sites for metastatic thyroid cancers, orbital metastasis may be the primary clinical manifestation of thyroid carcinoma. Finally, some medications as amiodarone may be accompanied by both thyroid dysfunction and adverse ocular events.

Conclusion: Thyroid disorders and eye diseases are interrelated through several mechanisms thus, awareness of this relation has a great impact on early diagnosis and treatment.

Keywords: Graves’ ophthalmopathy; Thyroid disorders; age-related macular degeneration; amiodarone; diabetic retinopathy; ocular metastasis..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amiodarone / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / adverse effects
  • Antithyroid Agents / adverse effects
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / metabolism
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / physiopathology
  • Eye / drug effects
  • Eye / metabolism
  • Eye / physiopathology*
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology
  • Eye Diseases / metabolism
  • Eye Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Eye Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Eye Neoplasms / secondary
  • Graves Ophthalmopathy / epidemiology
  • Graves Ophthalmopathy / metabolism
  • Graves Ophthalmopathy / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / epidemiology
  • Hyperthyroidism / metabolism
  • Hyperthyroidism / physiopathology
  • Hypothyroidism / epidemiology
  • Hypothyroidism / metabolism
  • Hypothyroidism / physiopathology
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology
  • Macular Degeneration / metabolism
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Signal Transduction
  • Thyroid Diseases / drug therapy
  • Thyroid Diseases / epidemiology
  • Thyroid Diseases / metabolism
  • Thyroid Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Thyroid Gland / drug effects
  • Thyroid Gland / metabolism
  • Thyroid Gland / physiopathology*
  • Thyroid Hormones / metabolism*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Antithyroid Agents
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Amiodarone