While some people may have prominent eyes due to hereditary factors, eyes that protrude far enough in the eye sockets to show the whites of the eyes all the way around the iris may be an indication of a health issue. Abnormal bulging of the eyes, particularly at a young age, should be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible. There are a number of conditions that may cause the eyes to bulge and some may require immediate attention.
Possible Causes of Bulging Eyes
The most overwhelming cause of bulging, pronounced eyes is an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). This condition occurs when the thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of hormones that are responsible for the body’s metabolism and other essential processes. An influx of these hormones can actually be harmful over time if not addressed.
One of the main causes of hyperthyroidism is a condition called Grave’s disease, which is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks different structures around the eye, such as the eye muscles, eyelids, and orbital fat. The disorder also affects the thyroid gland, causing an increase of hormones throughout the body.
Other potential causes of bulging eyes include:
Orbital tumors – A tumor in the orbit can push the eyeball forward. It could be benign orbital tumor (such as orbital hemangioma) or malignant orbital tumor (such as metastasis, etc). The treatment would be to address the tumor.
Genetics (inherited) – Some people are born with large appearing eyes.
Shallow orbit (shallow eye socket) – small orbit (eye socket) will not have enough room for the eyeball so the eyeball sits more forward, hence bulging. This phenomenon in more common in certain ethnicities such as some Asians and some African Americans.
Sunken cheek bones – Poor or sunken cheek bones around the eyeball can result in the eyeball to be relatively bulgy.
Large myopic eyeballs – If the eyeball itself is large, it can give appearance of bulging eye.
Relatively large eye when compared to sunken opposite eye – If the opposite is sunken (enophthalmos) from another cause, that can make the good eye look relatively protruded.
Pseudo-proptosis – meaning the eyeball appears bulgy but it is not. For instance, eyelid retraction can make the eye look bigger.
Others: infection, bleeding, etc (whatever can push the eyeballs forward)
Schedule an Eye Exam for Bulgy Eyes Today
To learn more about hyperthyroidism and other potential causes for bulging eyes, please do not wait to contact oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Mehryar (Ray) Taban to schedule an initial consultation in our Beverly Hills or Santa Barbara offices in the greater Los Angeles area. We can come up with the best treatment option for you, such as orbital decompression surgery, eyelid socket surgery, eyelid retraction surgery, blepharoplasty, and/or injectable treatments. Call us now!