A multicentre study to test a tool for diagnosing thyroid eye disease.

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight / British Thyroid Foundation and Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Dr Anna Mitchell
  • Institute: The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Region: North East
  • Start date: July 2016
  • End Date: December 2018
  • Priority: Early detection
  • Eye Category: Ocular inflammatory


Thyroid eye disease (TED) is an inflammatory eye condition that’s linked to Graves’ disease – the most common cause of an overactive thyroid. TED is also known as Graves’ orbitopathy.

TED can cause blindness at its most severe forms. The earlier it’s treated the better the results. However, recognising TED can be challenging for doctors. Delays in diagnosis are unfortunately common.

The researchers have developed a clinical assessment tool known as ‘DiaGO’, which is short for Diagnosis of Graves’ orbitopathy. DiaGO is a set of questions and a simple eye exam that can be done quickly by health professionals. The aim is to guide doctors as they make a possible diagnosis of TED in patients with Graves’ disease.

The team has tested DiaGO on 104 people with Graves’ disease, both with and without known TED. In their initial pilot study, they found that DiaGO can accurately identify TED in patients with Graves’ disease whose eye condition was previously undiagnosed. This led to referral, early diagnosis and specialist treatment.

Now the team is using the extra funding provided in this grant to do further tests on DiaGO, in a larger study across multiple hospitals. They want to know if it can be used widely in outpatient endocrinology clinics (where Graves’ disease patients are seen regularly) to help detect TED at an early stage, so that they can be offered treatment to prevent TED progressing to a more severe form.