Bulging Eyes

Also known as: exophthalmos

What are bulging eyes?

When the eyes protrude out from their normal position a little more than usual, this could be a naturally occurring situation that doesn’t pose any risks. In other situations, however, it may be the sign of an underlying medical condition.

What might cause bulging eyes?

The most common cause of bulging eyes is hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid gland. This frequently occurs as a result of Graves’ disease, which is a disease that inflames the tissue around the eyes. Other causes of bulging eyes include:
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Orbital cellulitis
  • Hemangioma
  • Bleeding of the eyes
  • Metastatic tumors
  • Connective tissue diseases
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma

How can it be treated?

If the patient was born with bulging eyes, and they are not presenting any symptoms, then no action may be needed.

When should you seek medical attention?

In all other instances where a bulging eye develops where one did not exist previously, seek immediate medical attention.

Reviewed by: Luxme Hariharan, MD

This page was last updated on: February 13, 2020 10:54 AM