U.S. Physician Survey Illustrates the Devastating Impact of Thyroid Eye Disease on Patient Quality of Life

May 11, 2020 16:00 UTC

In an analysis accepted for presentation at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress, physicians cite psychological well-being and ability to function in social situations as most impacted by the disease

DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Horizon Therapeutics plc (Nasdaq: HZNP) today announced results of a U.S. physician survey showing that endocrinologists and ophthalmologists perceive Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) to have a significant burden on their patients’ quality of life (QOL). TED is a serious, progressive and vision-threatening rare autoimmune disease associated with proptosis (eye bulging), diplopia (double vision), blurred vision, pain, inflammation and facial disfigurement.1 The analysis was accepted as a poster presentation at the AACE 29th Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress and was published in a special supplement of Endocrine Practice.

“This analysis shows that physicians are acutely aware of the significant burden TED has on their patients, including not only the painful eye symptoms, but also the major impact on mental health, social interactions, driving and employment,” said Yao Wang M.D., neuro-ophthalmology and oculoplastics specialist, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “With new therapeutic options becoming available, this evaluation reinforces the urgent need to manage the serious effects of TED and preserve quality of life as much as possible to protect patients’ well-being.”

The evaluation was conducted to better understand how U.S. endocrinologists and ophthalmologists perceive the QOL of their TED patients. A total of 181 physicians (73 endocrinologists and 108 ophthalmologists) responded to the online survey, reporting insights from 714 total patients with moderate to severe TED, whose names were removed to maintain privacy. The evaluation addressed topics including overall QOL, ability to attend work/school, ability to function in social situations, ability to participate and enjoy day-to-day activities, ability to drive and psychological well-being. A 7-point Likert scale was used to rate impact (1 representing not at all impaired to 7 representing extremely impaired).

The study participants reported considerable overall QOL impact on TED patients (overall rating of 4.1 of 7). Importantly, TED patients had nearly double the rates of anxiety and depression than the general U.S. adult population (36.4 percent vs. 18.9 percent).2 Vision problems caused by TED, including strabismus (misaligned eyes), diplopia (double vision) and ocular pain, were some of the factors that had the highest impact on QOL. These factors are also often drivers of mobility restrictions or occupational disability.

“These data reinforce that physicians understand the onerous burden of this challenging disease and the urgent need to help improve patients’ daily lives,” said Jeffrey W. Sherman, M.D., FACP, executive vice president, chief medical officer, Horizon. “This is why we are so focused on urgently supporting people living with TED, not only with new therapies, but also by providing their physicians with tools and resources to help improve patient quality of life.”

About Thyroid Eye Disease

TED is a serious, progressive and vision-threatening rare autoimmune disease.1 TED often occurs in people living with hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease; however, it is a distinct disease that is caused by autoantibodies activating an IGF-1R-mediated signaling complex on cells within the retro-orbital space.3,4 This leads to a cascade of negative effects, which may cause long-term, irreversible damage. As TED progresses, the serious damage it can cause includes proptosis (eye bulging), strabismus (misalignment of the eyes) and diplopia (double vision) – and in some cases it can lead to blindness.5,6

About Horizon

Horizon is focused on researching, developing and commercializing medicines that address critical needs for people impacted by rare and rheumatic diseases. Our pipeline is purposeful: we apply scientific expertise and courage to bring clinically meaningful therapies to patients. We believe science and compassion must work together to transform lives. For more information on how we go to incredible lengths to impact lives, please visit www.horizontherapeutics.com and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.


  1. Barrio-Barrio J, et al. Graves' Ophthalmopathy: VISA versus EUGOGO Classification, Assessment, and Management. Journal of Ophthalmopathy. 2015;2015:1-16.
  2. NIH National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml. Accessed 18 February 2020.
  3. Weightman DR, et al. Autoantibodies to IGF-1 Binding Sites in Thyroid Associated Ophthalmopathy. Autoimmunity. 1993; 16(4): 251–257.
  4. Pritchard J, et al. Immunoglobulin Activation of T Cell Chemoattractant Expression in Fibroblasts from Patients with Graves’ Disease Is Mediated Through the Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 Receptor Pathway. J Immunol. 2003;170:6348-6354.
  5. Ross DS, et al. The 2016 European Thyroid Association /European Group on Graves' Orbitopathy Guidelines for the Management of Graves ' Orbitopathy. Eur Thyroid J. 2016;5(1):9-26.
  6. McKeag D, et al. Clinical features of dysthyroid optic neuropathy: a European Group on Graves ' Orbitopathy (EUGOGO ) survey. Br J Ophthalmol. 2007;91:455-458.

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