Protruding or bulging eyes ? either one or both ? is known medically as proptosis, and occasionally as exophthalmos when caused by Graves? disease. Prominent eyes are different than bulging eyes. Cushing syndrome and severe obesity, among other conditions can cause eyes to be more prominent, but bulging eyes are defined by the eye actually pushing forth from the socket.

Along with bulging eyes, your eyes may be dry and irritated because the eyelid cannot close properly, which causes your eyes to water more. Depending on the cause, you may have other symptoms such as double vision, difficulty focusing and may end up with damage to your optic nerve from being stretched or pressed on.

Let?s look at a few reasons you might have bulging eyes, then be sure to call your optometrist to set up an appointment for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Bulging Eyes ? Causes

A number of different things can lead to bulging eyes, though one main disease is the culprit for most people.

  • – The most common cause of bulging eyes in adults is Graves? disease, which causes swelling of the tissue behind the eye due to overactivity of the thyroid gland, pushing the eyeball forward. This makes it hard for the eyelid to close as noted earlier, and places pressure on the optic nerve.

  • – In children, the most common cause is an infection.

  • – Glaucoma which has been present since birth, referred to as primary infantile glaucoma, can cause bulging eyes in rare cases.

  • – Other causes can include:
        – tumors;
        – bleeding;
        – infections (in adults); and,
        – inflammation in the eye.