New support group forms for people with painful ophthalmic condition
A new support group for people with thyroid eye disease – a painful condition resulting from Graves’ disease – will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Flaum Eye Institute at the University of Rochester Medical Center, 210 Crittenden Blvd. James Aquavella, M.D., cornea surgeon with the Eye Institute, will discuss dry eye related to the disorder and offer tips for relief.
Thyroid eye disease is closely associated with Graves' disease, an autoimmune disorder and the leading cause of hyperthyroidism, or overproduction of the thyroid gland. The eye problems occur when cells from the immune system attack the muscles and other tissue around the eyes, causing inflammation and a build-up of muscle tissue and fat behind the eye socket. As the deposits grow, it causes the eyeballs to bulge. It’s long believed that the late actor Marty Feldman, best known for his role in “Young Frankenstein,” had thyroid eye disease.
The Rochester-area support group is open to anyone with Graves’ disease or thyroid eye disease, as well as their family members. It offers a forum to share concerns, feelings and information, and offers peer support and encouragement to patients to help them cope with their illness. Spouses and caregivers also can gain a better understanding of the disease and how to support their loved ones. Advance registration is requested. Contact Steve Kofron at (585) 275-3977.
Patricia Marino, Ph.D., an organizer of the group, will share her story of diagnosis and treatment. The retired Rochester City Schools lead teacher and specialist/coach was diagnosed Graves’ disease in 2005. Under the care of Flaum Eye Institute Director Steven Feldon, M.D., M.B.A., an international expert in thyroid eye disease research and care, Marino has overcome most of her symptoms and related challenges. She hopes to offer others helpful support and advice as they cope with the illness.