Proptosis is when the eye or eyes appear to bulge forward, out of the socket. Many times this is due to something inside the eye that is taking up space. CT scans, MRIs, and biopsies can help to diagnose proptosis and find the source of bulging eyes. Sometimes the cornea can become exposed as a result of proptosis, which can also be a concern and must be treated in addition to the proptosis.
At the Orbital Surgery Center of Excellence, we treat many types of tumors, infection, and trauma that could result in bulging eyes. Our surgeons specialize in treating diseases that affect the orbital area, including the eyes, eye sockets, bone, muscles, and surrounding tissues. We perform all orbital surgery at our Beverly Hills surgery center.
Bulging eyes can be a symptom of something more serious in most cases. If you are experiencing bulging eyes, you should contact one of our qualified, board-certified eye surgeons immediately at (888) 559-4341.
1. Graves’ Disease
Graves’ disease, also known as thyroid eye disease or hyperthyroidism, is a condition caused by the excess production of thyroid hormones. This disease usually needs to be diagnosed by an ENT doctor and can display many symptoms. Sometimes in Graves’ the eye tissues can begin to swell, pushing the eyes forward and causing proptosis. In these cases, medication can help control the thyroid. In more severe cases, orbital decompression can be necessary to widen the eye socket and allow the eye to fit normally. These cases can pose special risk to the eyes, because the eyelids may not cover the eye completely, causing corneal exposure.
Malignant tumors, hemangiomas, and cancerous tumors can also cause proptosis. If a tumor is growing behind the eye it can cause bulging eyes and requires immediate treatment. Treatment for tumors around, in, or behind the eye usually involves radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy.
3. Internal Bleeding
During any type of orbital trauma, bleeding can occur in the eye socket. As the eye socket fills with blood, this can push the eye forward. In these cases damage to the optic nerve is highly probable. In order to prevent blindness, you should see a doctor immediately to relive the pressure to the optic nerve.
4. Orbital Cellulitis
Orbital cellulitis is the inflammation of orbital tissues. Orbital cellulitis can result in bulging eyes due to the swelling. In most cases the infection comes from the oral cavity or sinuses. Sometimes it can come from an injury to the eyelid as well. In orbital cellulitis, the infection can spread to the brain and other areas of the body and can be life threatening. Treatment usually involves antibiotics.
Some inflammatory diseases are characterized by diseases that attack the organs of the body and cause swelling of tissues. In some cases, this can affect the eye socket leading to proptosis. Inflammatory orbital pseudotumor (which does not involve cancer cells) is a type of disease that can cause proptosis. Inflammation in the orbit can be treated with corticosteroids or immunosuppressant medications.
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