Proptosis or Exophthalmos: Bulging of Eyes | oneGRAVESvoice

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Proptosis or Exophthalmos: Bulging of Eyes

key information

source: Merck Manual

year: 2019


Bulging or protruding of one or both eyes is called proptosis or exophthalmos. Exophthalmos is usually used when describing bulging eyes caused by Graves disease, a disorder causing overactivity of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). Bulging eyes are not the same as prominent eyes. Some disorders that may change the appearance of the face and eyes but that do not cause true eye bulging include Cushing disease and severe obesity.

Bulging sometimes causes other symptoms. The eyes may be dry and irritated (which causes watering) because the bulging may prevent the eyelids from closing properly. Also, people may blink less often or may appear to stare. Depending on the cause of bulging, people may have other symptoms such as double vision or difficulty focusing on objects. If bulging is prolonged, the optic nerve is stretched, which may impair vision. Vision may also be impaired if the disorder causing bulging also presses on the optic nerve.