Protruding eyes; Exophthalmos; Proptosis; Bulging eyes
Bulging eyes is the abnormal protrusion (bulging out) of one or both eyeballs.
Prominent eyes may be a family trait. However, prominent eyes are not the same as bulging eyes. Bulging eyes should receive immediate attention.
Bulging of a single eye, especially in a child, is a very serious sign and should be evaluated immediately.
Generally, there should be no visible white between the top of the iris (the colored part of the eye) and the upper eyelid. Seeing white in this area is usually a good indication that there is abnormal eye bulging.
Because eye changes develop slowly, family members may not notice it until the condition is relatively advanced. Photographs often draw attention to the bulging when it may have gone unnoticed previously.
The underlying cause of this symptom needs to be treated by a health care provider. Because bulging eyes can cause a person to be self-conscious, emotional support is important.
The health care provider will take your medical history and do a physical examination.
Medical history questions may include the following:
Artificial tears may be given to lubricate the eye. Other treatments will depend on the cause.
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Olitsky SE, Hug D, SMith LP. Orbital abnormalities. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th Ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 632.
Dutton JJ. Orbital diseases. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 12.12.
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