Protrusion of Eye Ball or Proptosis

Proptosis, or exophthalmos, is the bulging out of one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) of the eyes. While some people naturally have eyes that seem to bulge due to variations in our anatomy, others can develop the condition. If a person suddenly develops proptosis, especially in just one eye, it is considered a very serious problem. Sudden onsets of proptosis should always be evaluated by an eye doctor immediately.

If the bulging is mild, a doctor can take measurements with a ruler or an exophthalmometer. As long as measurements are within a certain range, more testing isn't necessary. However, if measurements are out of the normal range other tests will be necessary and could include an MRI, blood work, ultrasound or even a biopsy. Proptosis can be a very serious situation for some people. The bulging orbit may increase the pressure behind and inside the eye called intraocular pressure. As the intraocular pressure increases, so do risks for other eye diseases such as glaucoma.

Treatment for Proptosis

Treating proptosis is centered on finding the underlying cause. In the case of thyroid disease, medications may be all that is needed to reduce the proptosis. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed.
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