Bulging eyes is a condition where one or both eye balls bulge or protrude out from the eye socket. The eye socket which protects the eye ball provides room for only the eyeball, and other tissue and soft muscles supporting the eye. When there is an additional pressure inside the eye socket or a foreign body, the eye ball is pushed out side. This can either be unilateral (one eye involved) or bilateral ( noth eyes invovled) and caused by systemic diseases which affects the whole body or localised conditions which only affects the eye. Inflammation of the muscle or other soft tissues in the eye socket, foreign bodies, abnormality in a vein supplying the eye balls or a malignancy in optic nerve or lacrimal gland are the commonest principals behind the bulging of eyes. However, the commonest pathological reasons include Graves disease, orbital cellulitis, preseptal cellulitis, idiopathic orbital inflammotory disease, vascular malfomations, lymphangiomas, carotid cavernous fistula and tumours like neuroblastoma. Trauma to the eye socket, cystic lesion and congenital abnormalities of the skull can aso give rise to this condition. Patients will usually complain of swollen eyelids, red eye, tearing, dry or gritty eyes, mucus discharge, pain, increased sensitivity to light and changes in the vision ( double vision, reduced vision). These changes in occur suddenly or gradually depending on the cause.
HOW IS BULGING EYES DIAGNOSED?
The ophthalmologist will check the movement of the eyes with an instrument called exophthalmometer to measure how far the eyeball protrudes. The doctor may advise CT scan or MRI scan to examine the eye socket in more detail. A blood test may be recommended to assess the thyroid gland along with reference to an endocrinologist for any abnormal thyroid hormone levels.
HOW IS BULGING EYES TREATED?
Treatment of bulging eyes depends on the underlying cause. Common treatment methods are use of eye drops and sunglasses, corticosteroids for reducing inflammation, surgery and chemotherapy for treating tumours, and surgical methods to repair damaged veins and arteries.
DID YOU KNOW?
There are many causes that lead to bulging eyes which include:
• Graves disease
• Hyperthyroidism caused by medications for other conditions
• Orbital cellulitis or periorbital cellulitis