Thyroid eye disease (TED) is a condition that can cause painful, bothersome symptoms in and around your eyes, and it can affect your outward appearance. These factors may impact how you feel about yourself and your confidence.

Some symptoms of TED include:

  • changes to the eye, like pain, swelling, redness, itching, and watering
  • blurred or double vision
  • light sensitivity
  • eyelid changes
  • bulging eyes

You may have symptoms related to other thyroid conditions, like rapid mood shifts, that also contribute to low self-esteem.

There are many strategies you can use to boost your confidence while you treat TED. These include getting the right diagnosis and treatment, seeking mental health services, connecting with others, taking care of yourself, and more.

Living with painful and bothersome TED symptoms can diminish your outlook and confidence. If you notice symptoms, contact your doctor right away. If treatment is delayed, the condition may worsen.

TED often occurs with other thyroid conditions, and it’s important to treat those, too.

A proper diagnosis and a treatment plan will help you move forward confidently. It may take some time to relieve symptoms, but you can take the first step and talk with your doctor.

Your confidence may build as you start to notice a reduction in symptoms from TED. But it’s important to be consistent with treatment in order to start the road to recovery. Your plan will aim to reduce symptoms and increase your comfort.

Medical treatments for TED may involve:

  • steroid treatments to suppress your immune system
  • medication to regulate your thyroid
  • radiotherapy of the eyes to reduce swelling and prevent damage to the optic nerve
  • surgery to reduce eye pressure or protect your eyes

Home-based treatments for TED can include:

  • using moistening eye drops
  • running a humidifier to keep indoor air moist
  • applying cold compresses to your eyes
  • using sunglasses when outside
  • wearing glasses with prism lenses to reduce double vision

Smoking can affect your treatment plan and hinder your ability to manage TED. You should strongly consider quitting smoking after a TED diagnosis.

Smoking can not only contribute to TED symptoms, but it can also reduce the effectiveness of treatments. As soon as you give up smoking, your body will respond to the treatments more quickly.

TED can take a toll on your mental health. But there are resources available that can help you improve your outlook.

TED can impact your mental health in several ways. You may experience mood shifts, anxiety, or depression. These changes may be due to fluctuations in thyroid hormones, limitations to your life because of symptoms, or changes in your physical appearance. One 2021 study found that 42% of participants with TED experienced anxiety or depression.

You may need counseling or therapy and medication to regulate your mental health if you have TED.

You can find recommendations for mental health services from:

  • your doctor
  • your insurer
  • support groups
  • social media or other online networks
  • community groups
  • friends and family

Finding the right mental health professional for you may take time. Interview potential counselors or therapists over the phone or by email to determine their rates, hours, and approach. You may need to meet with a few different professionals before you find the right one.

Being open about your diagnosis with close friends and family may give you a boost of confidence. Talking with your loved ones may provide emotional relief and help them understand what you’re experiencing. Your close contacts could be emotional confidantes to help you process your feelings.

Tell your friends and family how TED affects your appearance, and remind them that you’re still the same person in spite of these changes.

Also, it may be necessary to stop engaging in certain activities with TED. It will be easier to adjust plans if your loved ones know about your limitations.

Finding a support group for people with TED or related conditions may be positive for your outlook. These groups can help you process your feelings, share your experiences, discuss treatment options, and troubleshoot lifestyle adjustments.

Talking with other people in similar situations will help you feel less alone and may offer perspective that you can’t get elsewhere.

Look for support groups through your doctor, in your community, or online.

Maintaining healthy habits can keep your body working well and improve your mental outlook. Focus on the basics and see if they help your confidence.

Start with:

  • getting the right amount of sleep nightly
  • eating a well-balanced diet
  • staying hydrated with water
  • exercising most days to your personal ability

Managing stress is important to your confidence. Getting a handle on stress will lessen the emotional impact of TED and could reduce some symptoms.

There are many ways to relieve stress, including:

  • meditating
  • practicing yoga
  • participating in a new or beloved hobby
  • finding time during the day to rest
  • planning something with friends, family, or a community group

You may experience challenges with TED, but prioritizing yourself will help build your confidence.

Find the treatment that works for you, connect with others, practice a healthy lifestyle, and decompress. These strategies will help you feel good about yourself while managing TED.