ZocdocAnswersCan your eyes swell?

Question

Can your eyes swell?

I don't mean the outside of your eye, but can your eyeball actually swell? I think my eyes are kind of sticking out more than usual. Is this a symptom of anything?

Answer

Swelling of the eyes out of their normal position can be a sign of many things. One of the most common reasons for exophthalmos (the terms doctors use to describe it) involving both eyes is a condition that affects the thyroid gland as well. This is known as Grave's disease, and is caused by antibodies that are made by your body and stimulate the thyroid gland as well as the periorbital fat. This causes you to feel flushed, sweaty, and fast. You may lose some weight as well. Your eyes will seem to protrude due to inflammation caused by the antibodies. In some cases, addressing the primary disease will cause a resolution of the eye bulging, but it is not uncommon for people to need surgery to remove a small amount of the fat in order for their eyes to not be as protruded. If your swelling is isolated to just one eye, then it could be a sign of a mass or abscess that is causes protrusion. Regardless, you should speak to your doctor so that he or she can make the appropriate recommendations, as this could be a sign of something more serious.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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