This is when the eye bulges out.  The eye sits inside the eye socket like a scoop of ice cream sitting inside a waffle cone.  When the contents of the eye socket swell, there is not a lot of room to expand except forward, so the eye tends to protrude outwards.  Proptosis of the eye can occur for many reasons, though the most common is secondary to thyroid eye disease (i.e., Graves’ disease) which causes the eye muscles behind the eye to enlarge over time. There are more concerning causes for proptosis, including inflammation, infection, and neoplastic processes (i.e., a tumor). Proptosis needs to be evaluated in the office to rule out these dangerous conditions. Often a CT (“CAT scan”) is ordered.

Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:


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