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Having remarkably protruding eyes disrupts people’s appearance and vision. Bulging of the eyes, also known as exophthalmos, can have significant health implications.
The most common cause of exophthalmos is an autoimmune disorder that produces inflammation in the orbit, the area surrounding the eye. Thyroid eye disease most often occurs in a subset of people who have Graves’ disease, which involves an overactive thyroid gland, or hyperthyroidism. Less frequently, thyroid eye disease is associated with an underactive thyroid gland, or hypothyroidism.
Distorted vision, light sensitivity, excessively dry eyes, pain and loss of balance are complications of thyroid eye disease. Surgery – usually more than one – is the ultimate treatment for people with severely protruding eyes.
However, an investigational drug with promising study results may potentially offer future patients with thyroid eye disease a nonsurgical alternative to treat protruding eyes.
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