Thyroid eye disease (TED) is one of the most common autoimmune inflammatory disorders. It's pathophysiology, however, remains unclear.

In an attempt to uncover new information regarding TED, a recent study suggests genetic findings and risk factors could help explain the occurrence of the disease and guide future therapies to better manage it. 

Among the risk factors associated with TED, researchers found that smoking, selenium deficiency and high-serum cholesterol all increase the incidence and severity of the disease. Smoking—which the team notes has an impact on specific gene expression involved in several disease-related pathways, including TED—cessation and selenium and cholesterol management could reverse the effects of TED, they add. 

In terms of therapeutic options, the study notes that immunomodulatory medications have shown promising results in treating TED over the past few years. Further studies with larger sample sizes, however, are needed to prove the efficacy of these immunosuppressants, the team adds. In addition, the researchers suggest brachytherapy may have quick therapeutic effects on the disease without causing significant side effects and could be a promising therapy for treating TED.

Li Z, Cestari DM, Fortin E. Thyroid eye disease: what is new to know? Curr Opin Ophthalmol. August 18, 2018. [Epub ahead of print].