Thyroid Eye Disease Can Have Long Term Impact on Vision, Eye Appearance and Quality of Life Interview with:
Elizabeth H.Z. Thompson, Ph.D
Group vice president, Clinical Development and External Search
Horizon Therapeutics What is the background for this study?

Response: This study provides the first U.S.-based validation of the Graves’ Ophthalmopathy Quality of Life (GO-QOL) questionnaire. For your background, Graves’ Ophthalmopathy is another term used to describe Thyroid Eye Disease (TED). The GO-QOL questionnaire includes eight questions, each on visual functioning and appearance-related impacts of TED on patients. Though widely used and validated in Europe, the relevance of the questions for patients in the United States hasn’t previously been explored.For this evaluation, 13 eligible TED patients completed the questionnaire and then underwent a separate cognitive QOL-related interview. What are the main findings? 

Response: The most commonly reported visual functioning impacts included the following:

  • Difficulty driving
  • Difficulty using electronic screens, such as televisions, smart phones and computers
  • Difficulty moving around outdoors, due to things like light sensitivity, uneven surfaces and depth perception
  • Difficulty doing hobbies

Additionally, patients frequently reported emotional and psychological impact of TED, which included the following:

  • Concern over unwelcome change in appearance
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Frustration and anger
  • Negative reactions from others, social impacts and isolation and lack of self-confidence and embarrassment What should readers take away from your report?

Response: This study reinforces what we commonly hear from people who are living with Thyroid Eye Disease – that the disease has a significant burden on daily activities and their emotional well-being. The study supports that the GO-QOL questionnaire can be a useful tool for measuring these burdens, including for patients in the United States. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: It could be beneficial to expand the scope of this study to get additional feedback from U.S. patients on its relevance and completeness. Understanding the impact that a disease has on patient’s lives – and assessing the impact of any potential treatments – is a critically important part of the drug development process; for Thyroid Eye Disease, we continue to refine that understanding. Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response: Thyroid Eye Disease is a serious, progressive and vision-threatening rare autoimmune disease, characterized by symptoms like eye bulging, double vision, pain and inflammation. It can cause long-term, irreversible damage to both vision and eye appearance. It is incredibly important for physicians to recognize the full burden of the disease, including on a patient’s independence, ability to work, and self-confidence – and take that into account when making treatment decisions.


Stan MN, Holt R, Padnick-Silver L, Sile S. SAT-424 Assessing Content Validity of the Graves’ Ophthalmopathy Quality of Life Questionnaire (GO-QOL) in the United States. J Endocr Soc. 2020;4(Suppl 1):SAT-424. Published 2020 May 8. doi:10.1210/jendso/bvaa046.1536



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Last Updated on June 11, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD