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Prevent Blindness Declares Fourth Annual Thyroid Eye Disease Awareness Week

Prevent Blindness provides free educational materials on Thyroid Eye Disease, including new Focus on Eye Health Export series episode, and debuts online art gallery from participants in the Prevent Blindness Art Therapy program

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(PRESS RELEASE) CHICAGO – Prevent Blindness, the nation’s leading nonprofit eye health and safety organization, has declared Nov. 13-19, 2023, as its fourth annual “Thyroid Eye Disease Awareness (TED) Week.” TED, also known as Graves’ Eye Disease, is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system causes inflammation and swelling and stimulates the production of muscle tissue and fat behind the eye.

Prevent Blindness provides free educational content to patients, care partners and healthcare professionals, including fact sheets and social media graphics, available in English and Spanish, and a dedicated webpage. This year’s TED Awareness Week is supported by AmgenImmunovant, Inc., and Viridian Therapeutics.

In the active phase of TED, the main symptoms include inflammation and increased amounts of tissue, muscles, and fat behind the eye, causing the eyeballs to bulge outward. If the eye is pushed far enough forward, the eyelids may not close properly when blinking and sleeping. In severe cases, the inflammation and enlargement of the tissues, muscles, and fat behind the eye compresses the optic nerve, causing vision loss.

Because many individuals with TED are more likely to develop depression and anxiety, during TED Awareness Week, Prevent Blindness will also debut a new episode in the Focus on Eye Health Expert Series, “Thyroid Eye Disease and Mental Wellness.” Neuro-ophthalmic conditions expert Prem Subramanian, MD, PhD, Clifford R. and Janice N. Merrill Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs at Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Eye Center, UCHealth, discusses TED, its potential impact on mental health, and the importance of patient and healthcare provider communication to help improve health outcomes.

Because art therapy has been shown to help people improve their mental, emotional and even physical wellness, Prevent Blindness offers TED patients and care partners the Prevent Blindness Art Therapy Program, recently concluding its third session. This unique, no-cost program is thoughtfully designed to build community and connections among people who are affected by TED and provide the opportunity to create art using a variety of artistic media to express thoughts and feelings. This program is also supported by funding from Amgen and Viridian Therapeutics.

Various works in a variety of mediums from past participants may be viewed in the new Prevent Blindness Art Therapy Gallery here. Those interested in participating in the next session may sign up for the Prevent Blindness Art Therapy Program waiting list.

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“Now in our 4th consecutive year, we are proud to continue to educate the public and provide patients and care partners with support for Thyroid Eye Disease,” said Jeff Todd, Prevent Blindness president and CEO. “Our goal is to provide comprehensive TED resources to empower patients, and encourage them to discuss their diagnosis, as well as any changes in mental health, to help limit the impact that TED may have on their health and quality of life.”

For more information on TED, visit here. For details on the Prevent Blindness Art Therapy program, visit here. And, visit the Living Well with Low Vision resource, “Vision Loss and Mental Wellness” here.

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