Fight for Sight and the Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust have combined to fund research on the benefits of using a type of oral supplement for UK patients with thyroid eye disease.

According to a statement, the condition affected around 300,000 people in the UK.

More than a hundred patients with thyroid eye disease were to be randomly selected by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to receive tablets of the mineral selenium or a placebo.

A previous European study showed taking selenium supplements at the early stage of the disease can lead to a reduction in the symptoms associated with the condition, but it did not measure selenium levels in the patients before they took the supplements. Previous research had also shown blood selenium levels varied depending on the geographical region the patient lives in.

Dr Neil Ebenezer, director of research, policy and innovation at Fight for Sight, said: ‘We need to establish whether there is a clear benefit from taking this oral supplement. The results could have a direct impact on the lives of patients living with thyroid eye disease and have significant implications on how this condition can be managed in the future.’