Selenium is a trace mineral which is essential to good health but required only in small amounts. This is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins which are antioxidant enzymes. Selenoproteins in turn help prevent cellular damage and free radicals, regulate the thyroid function and aid in the immune system. Selenium can be found in some meats, sea food and nuts. These selenium-rich foods can enable better thyroid functioning and prevent free-radicle damage. Deficiency of selenium might show up as muscle pain, hair or skin discoloration and whitening of the beds of the fingernails.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals boost the immune system of the individual, and they support normal growth and development of the body. For instance, carrot contains beta carotene and other carotenoids, which are not only good for eyes but also are antioxidants. Beta carotene is a precursor of Vitamin A and is part of the Provitamin A Carotenoids. The body converts carotenoids into Vitamin A, which in turn prevents possible eye problems. Vitamins fall under two categories:
Fat soluble vitamins - which dissolve in fat and can be stored in the body. Fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K.
Water soluble vitamins - which need to dissolve in water before your body can absorb them. Water soluble vitamins are Vitamin C and the B complex vitamins such as Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, niacin, riboflavin and folate.
While vitamins are organic substances, minerals are inorganic and they come from the soil and water and are absorbed by plants or eaten by animals. The body needs largest amounts of some minerals such as calcium, to stay healthy. Other minerals such as chromium, copper, iodine, selenium and zinc are termed trace minerals as the body needs very small amounts of them each day.
Dysthyroid Eye Disease
This is an auto-immune disease of the eye socket and eye muscles and occurs in those with thyroid disease. Characterized by inflammation, swelling and eventual scarring, thyroid eye disease is a rare condition affecting about 16 women in every 100,000 people and 3 men in every 100,000 persons every year.
Overactive thyroid gland or hyperthyroidism and an underlying autoimmune condition that occurs in middle age are the cause. This could also be hereditary. Smoking could be another reason. Studies reveal that almost 40 percent of those with Graves disease develop Dysthyroid eye disease. This could also occur in those with hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and thyroid cancer. In fact in many, this disease is detected after the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, but in some this eye disease could develop even long after or before their thyroid problem becomes apparent.
Severe inflammation and swelling in phase I and resolving the muscles that move the eye, scarring and malfunction in phase II with double vision and retraction are features of this disease. Irritation and feeling of vision blurring are common occurrences in both the phases.
This is one condition of the eye where much can be done to help the patient.
The ocular irritation can be brought down by simple lubricants. While sleeping helps to overcome the swelling and ache, cold compresses and keeping the head elevated should help.
Oral steroids may help to contain acute inflammation and vision loss. But these have to be consumed with caution as they may have other side effects including worsening mood disturbances. Oral selenium is often beneficial in mild disease. Some may require radiotherapy for swelling. Those in phase II may require surgery for thyroid eye disease. Double vision can also be fixed by surgery to move the eye muscles. Unfortunately, persons with hyperthyroidism may undergo treatment for their increased thyroid, this does not in any way help the eye disease much and sometimes patients are left with permanent abnormalities. But the good news is that current treatments are long term and double vision and visual loss have become very uncommon.
Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: February 19, 2019