Mass. Eye and Ear, GDATF Host Graves' Disease/Thyroid Patient Educational Event

April 29, 2014

Contact: Mary Leach

BOSTON (April 29, 2014) -- The Massachusetts Eye and Ear and the Graves’ Disease & Thyroid Foundation will host a free educational event for patients living with Graves’ disease and thyroid eye disease on Saturday, May 10 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Mass. Eye and Ear’s Meltzer Auditorium, 3rd floor, 243 Charles Street, Boston, Mass., 02114. Registration information is available at the Foundation’s web site at or by calling 877-643-3123.

Confirmed presenters hail from Harvard Medical School and Mass. Eye and Ear and will include Dr. Suzanne Frietag, Dr. Ben Bleier, Dr. Daniel Lefebvre, Dr. Michael Yoon, Dr. Dean Cestari, Dr. Gregory Randolph, and Dr. Giuseppe Barbesino.

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists estimates that up to 30 million Americans may be affected by a thyroid disorder, with half of these cases currently undiagnosed. Two autoimmune disorders, Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are responsible for the vast majority of cases of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include weight loss, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, muscle weakness, fatigue, insomnia, and heat intolerance. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, joint pain, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, cold intolerance, and slow pulse. Patients with autoimmune thyroid disease may also experience a condition called thyroid eye disease, which can cause dryness, light sensitivity, swelling, eye protrusion, and double vision.

“The management of thyroid disease and related eye problems can be challenging for patients and doctors alike,” explains Dr. Freitag, who is director of Mass. Eye and Ear’s Ophthalmic Plastics Service. “The constellation of symptoms is unique in each patient, as is the way each individual copes with them. It is important for patients have a forum to learn more about their diagnosis and have their questions answered by physicians who are experienced in the management of thyroid problems and thyroid-related eye problems. By hearing patient questions and concerns, participating physicians can be more attuned to the needs of their patients.”