What can cause bulging in one eye? (photos)

I've noticed bulging in my right eye only. I'm concerned about it mostly for cosmetic reasons. In pictures you can see that one eye is different than the other when I close my eyes. When I press down on that eye I get a headache but not when I do the same for the left eye. Just very recently I've been seeing flashes in the right eye and I'm not sure if it's related. I do have hypothyroidism but I'm taking Levothyroxine and my levels of T4 are normal. What can cause this and is there a solution?

Doctor Answers 5

This can 't be answered in this forum.

You need an actual workup by a real doctor.  I recommend seeing a general ophthalmologist or oculoplastic surgeon.  Unless there has been change over time, this could be something as simple as the axial length of the eye.  Near slight eyes are larger than far sighted eyes on average.  It could be thyroid eye disease which is a very common cause of one eye being more prominent than the other.  Bottom line, you need to see the right doctor and get to the bottom of this and it is not necessarily anything scary.

Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

What can cause bulging in one eye?

There are multiple reasons why one eye is bulging including genetic, thyroid eye disease, tumor, etc. If this is something recent and progressive, best to see an oculoplastic specialist soon. Treatment depends on the cause.

Mehryar (Ray) Taban, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 73 reviews


There are many things that can cause one eye to bulge.  IT the bulging is progressive it can be a sign of a thyroid disorder.  In any event you should see an oculoplastic surgeon who specializes in these types of orbital disorders.  They can often be treated but the first step is getting to the cause.

Raymond S. Douglas, MD, PhD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon

What can cause bulging in one eye?

Your symptoms indicate you need to see an ophthalmologist (an MD) and the sooner the better. Don't neglect this!

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Bulging Eye

Thank you for your question. The situation you describe can be related to many things. You say that you have a history of hypothyroidism and thyroid related eye disease is by far the most common cause of bulging of one or both eyes. The fact that pressing on one side causes pain while not the other is also significant. There are many other causes of your symptoms. You need to see an Oculoplastic surgeon. A doctor in this specialty is best trained to evaluate the eye and surrounding structures from both a cosmetic standpoint and well as evaluating for disease that may be causing your problems. They will examine you and almost certainly obtain a C-T scan or MRI to evaluate the eye and orbit. Good luck and please have this evaluated soon.

Mark L. Mazow, MD, FACS
Dallas Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.