Prevalence of increased intraocular pressure in Graves' disease--evidence of frequent subclinical ophthalmopathy

N Engl J Med. 1983 Feb 24;308(8):420-4. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198302243080803.


Graves' exophthalmos is frequently associated with elevated intraocular pressure on upgaze. Eighty patients with Graves' disease were evaluated prospectively by applanation tonometry to assess the prevalence of ophthalmopathy in this disorder. Whereas 21 (26 per cent) of the 80 patients had exophthalmos, 61 (76 per cent) had abnormal intraocular pressure (delta greater than or equal to 3 mm Hg). All patients with exophthalmos had elevated intraocular pressure on upgaze; 40 (68 per cent) of 59 patients without proptosis had abnormal pressure readings. The mean interval between the onset of Graves' disease and this study was 6.3 +/- 1.0 years (S.E.M.) for those patients who had exaggerated positional changes in intraocular pressure, as compared with 3.0 +/- 1.0 years for those with normal intraocular pressure (P less than 0.005). All but 1 of 15 patients in whom the diagnosis of Graves' disease had been documented 10 or more years earlier had increased intraocular pressure on upgaze. We conclude that Graves' ophthalmopathy is more common than is recognized clinically and that eye involvement is an inevitable complication of the disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Graves Disease / complications
  • Graves Disease / diagnosis
  • Graves Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Graves Disease / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Posture
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Tonometry, Ocular
  • Vision Tests