Do You Have Prominent Eyes?

The area around your eyes, and the positioning of your eyes in your face, can be affected by genetics as well as potentially serious medical conditions. These include thyroid eye disease and orbital cysts or growth, as well as problems with your sinuses. Depending on the severity of your protruding eyes, you might benefit from screening and treatment for any underlying medical issues.

When you're looking for treatment for the sensitive area around your eyes, you want to make sure you can rely on expert care. Aesthetic and reconstructive oculoplastic surgeon Raymond Douglas, MD, PhD, provides expert orbital decompression surgery for patients with bulging eyes who live in and around Beverly Hills, California.

Here's what Dr. Douglas advises his patients with prominent eyes to be aware of when it comes to their long-term vision and comfort, as well as information about surgical treatment.

Why your eyes could bulge

We call the condition of having prominent or bulging eyes exophthalmos. You may have bulging eyes due to natural genetic factors, or the condition could be a symptom of an underlying potential problem in your eye area like thyroid eye disease.

When you have thyroid eye disease, the muscles and fatty tissue behind your eyeball can become inflamed. Exophthalmos frequently presents as a symptom of thyroid conditions, most commonly Graves’ disease.

In addition to prominent eyes, you might have symptoms like double-vision, dry or irritated eyes, or a feeling of pressure. Your eyeballs can also become slightly deformed due to increased pressure, and you may not be able to properly close your eyes.

For some people, thyroid eye disease can have rare complications including vision loss. Even without severe complications, though, conditions that put pressure on your eyes are uncomfortable at best, unbearable at worst.

How surgical treatment can help

Orbital decompression surgery works to clear out the socket, also called the orbit, of your eye, relieving your symptom of bulging. During the procedure, Dr. Douglas removes small amounts of bone and fat from around your eye socket to lessen the pressure on your eye and create more space.

He examines your eyes and uses a CT scan to find out more about your orbital area before planning your surgery, and he customizes your treatment to restore the appearance and function of your eye. You don't need to worry about pain during surgery. Dr. Douglas uses general anesthesia for this procedure, putting you gently to sleep so you don't feel any discomfort. 

Your surgical team accesses the surgical area through a tiny incision made in the crease of your upper eyelid or through the inner corner of your eye, taking care so that you shouldn't see significant scarring. We can also make a small incision in the lining around your eyeball to drain off a little fat, if needed, to aesthetically adjust your prominent eye shape.

As with any surgical procedure, you need to rest after treatment, and you could see side effects like minor pain and swelling. Dr. Douglas can prescribe medications as needed to support you in your recovery.

Avoid bending, heavy lifting, and blowing your nose for about a week, and take it easy for two weeks post-surgery. Otherwise, you should be able to move on in increased comfort as your symptoms resolve.If you’re concerned about your prominent eyes, or if you’re suffering from other symptoms of orbital pressure, contact Dr. Douglas to schedule a consultation.

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