Big bulging eyes often grab more attention at the pretext of looking more beautiful. However, bulging eyes or eyes that project out of their normal position might not be a sign of beauty always but could be a serious medical condition.
One way to observe bulging is that in most normal cases, the white part of the eye will not be seen between the upper eyelid and iris. If the white area is visible in such a scenario, it could be a sign of abnormal bulging. Bulging eyes are also referred to as exophthalmos or proptosis by doctors. The bulging could either be bilateral or unilateral.
If one of the eyes has sudden bulging, it should immediately be given medical attention. Graves’ Eye disease can lead to bulging eyes, also known as thyroid eye disease. The body produces too much thyroid hormone and the immune system attacks the tissue around the eyes which makes the eyes protrude.
Other symptoms include:
Other possible causes of bulging eyes are:
Cancers like Neuroblastoma (a type of cancer that can affect your sympathetic nervous system), leukaemia (a type of cancer that can affect your white blood cells), rhabdomyosarcoma (a type of cancer that can develop in your soft tissues) or metastatic tumours from cancer elsewhere in the body. A tumour can develop behind the eye and push the eye forward.
If any unusual bulging is observed in either one, or both the eyes, you must visit an oculoplastic surgeon. The surgeon might ask the patient to get one or more of the following tests done, post a physical examination of the patient’s bulging eye/eyes:
Treatment for bulging eyes depends on the underlying cause. Based on the diagnosis, the doctor is likely to prescribe the following:
In the case of Graves’ disease or a thyroid condition, the following is recommended by an endocrinologist:
(The author is consultant-oculoplasty, Sankara Eye Hospital)