A bulging eye is a symptom of various conditions and diseases and is characterised by the eye protruding out of its socket. Bulging eyes are different from prominent eyes and should be checked by a medical professional to rule out any serious causes. Bulging eyes can be accompanied by several other symptoms such as difficulty in closing the eye, blurred vision, dryness of the eye, pain, redness, and fever.
An easy way to identify a bulging eye from a protruding eye is to look at the space between the eyelid and the top of the iris (the coloured part of the eye). A sign that the eye is bulging is if the white part of your eye is visible all the way around your iris.
The main condition associated with bulging eyes is Hyperthyroidism, particularly Graves Disease. This condition causes the eyes to bulge, not blink, and appear to be staring due to the thyroid producing an excess of hormones and causing the immune system to malfunction. Other possible causes of bulging eyes include:
Bleeding behind the eye
Bleeding usually occurs in your eye socket due to trauma or injury to the eye. This condition usually only affects one eye, and as blood fills up behind the eye due to damaged blood vessels, it can begin to bulge as it is pushed forward.
Infection behind the eye
When you contract an infection, viruses and bacteria attack different organs of the body causing swelling and pain. This can cause your eye to bulge as the tissue around your eye becomes inflamed and irritated. The condition can affect the upper cheeks, eyebrows and eyelids as well as the eyeball itself.
Both benign and cancerous tumours can cause eyes to bulge. These require immediate treatment as the tumour grows bigger, it will push the eye forward. Different symptoms for this include changes in vision, tingling or numbness around the eye, and pain.
When to consult your local optician
If you are concerned about your eyes, then please make an appointment with your doctor or contact your local hospital if you feel that your symptoms are serious or getting rapidly worse. Also consult your health provider if your bulging eye has no pre-existing causes that you know of or if your bulging eye is accompanied by pain or any other symptoms.