Missy Elliot and Grave’s Disease

Missy Elliot and Grave’s Disease

Several years ago Grammy award-winning musician Missy Elliot openly discussed her battle with Grave’s disease. Grave’s disease is an autoimmune condition where a person’s body makes antibodies which overstimulates their thyroid. As a result, the thyroid is overactive and makes too many thyroid hormones. It most often affects women and affects multiple systems in the body resulting in heat intolerance, hair loss, sweating, extreme fatigue, heart problems, breathing problems and more. In some cases, Grave’s disease can affect the eyes

 

What is Grave’s Disease?

When Grave’s disease affects the eyes it is called Grave’s ophthalmopathy or Thyroid Associated Eye Disease. Missy Elliot did not discuss exactly how Grave’s affected her so I do not know if she had ocular involvement. However, Grave’s is not an uncommon condition and therefore I would like to discuss how it can affect the eyes. To begin with, anyone with an autoimmune condition is at a greater risk of having moderate to severe dry eye. However, Grave’s can have even more devastating ocular effects if autoantibodies attack the tissues within the eye socket causing them to become congested and bulge forward. The bulging can inhibit the patient from fully closing their eyes leading to exposure of the ocular surface resulting in damage and discomfort to the cornea (the clear part of the eye) which can be serious. In more advanced cases, the patient can suffer from double vision because the congestion within the eye socket becomes so great that their eye muscles cannot move normally. In more severe cases, the congestion within the eye socket can cause compression on the optic nerve resulting in permanent vision loss.

 

What Can You Do About Grave’s Disease?

Grave’s disease must be managed systemically by a physician (medications, surgery, and/or radiation). However, when the ocular surface becomes involved, other interventions are needed. If the ocular sequelae are limited to dry eye, often dry eye therapies are all that is needed. However, if the patient begins to have double vision or compression of the optic nerve, the patient will likely need a combination of occlusion therapy, prism and/or surgical intervention.

 

What Did Missy Do?

From what I have read, it does not sound like Missy Elliot needed ocular surgical intervention which is excellent. Although she reports that she has needed radiation treatment to manage her condition, she reports it was successful and that she now can control her condition with good self-care.

 

Disclaimer: With all celebrities discussed in this series I am simply using the power of google and reporting the rumors of their eye conditions. I am not certain if these celebrities have these eye conditions and I have never seen their medical records or examined them myself. I am simply reporting on a personal interest of mine and describing what these conditions are. My comments do not reflect the personal history of the celebrity or inside knowledge of them or their rumored condition.

 

If you enjoyed this article about Missy Elliot and Grave’s Disease, be sure to check our our article on Diabetes and The Eye.

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A Little Bit About…

A Little Bit About…

Ashley Iketani-Castillo, OD, MS

Dr. Iketani is a Florida native who has a passion for managing ocular disease. She views each patient as a whole person and believes the eyes are a window to a patient’s systemic health. She also has a passion for fitting rigid lenses on patients with corneal disease to help them obtain their best vision.

Dr. Iketani graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry where she completed internships at the Hefner Veteren’s Affairs hospital in Charlotte, NC and The Metrolina Association for the Blind which focused on Low Vision rehabilitation. Prior to pursuing optometry, she obtained a Masters of Science which focused on developmental genetics and worked as a technician in a lab that researched breast cancer.

Dr. Iketani currently resides in Cincinnati where her husband is starting his pediatrician fellowship,with their two cats and baby boy.

Disclaimer

Information contained within this Web site is intended solely for educational purposes and is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice relative to your specific medical condition or question. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider for any questions you may have regarding your medical condition. Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies. By using this Web site, you agree to this Medical Disclaimer.

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205 E Council Street, Suite B
Salisbury, North Carolina 28144

Phone: (704) 310-5002
Fax: (704) 310-5003
kristin@salisburyeyecareandeyewear.com

 

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