Proptosis, or exophthalmos, is an unusual bulging of the eye from its socket. It can form in a single eye or in both, and the root cause is thought to be related to an underlying thyroid problem.
At TabanMD, Los Angeles oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Mehryar “Ray” Taban understands the effect that orbital decompression can have on your life. The most effective way to treat this condition is orbital decompression surgery, which provides the best chance to restore normal facial symmetry, yet it’s also minimally invasive and fairly short.
Causes of Bulging Eyes
Although it seems like a simple inconvenience to some, to those who suffer from bulging eyes, it’s much more. When the eye swells enough, there is nowhere for it to go since the socket cannot expand, as a result, the eye protrudes from the socket, causing discomfort, pain, and excessive self-consciousness.
Although the root cause could be related to a thyroid issue, the following can also factor in:
- Shallow eye socket(s)
- Graves’ disease
- Thyroid eye disease
- Sunken cheekbones
- Eye socket tumors
Without eye surgery, bulging eyes can lead to conjunctivitis or even the loss of vision in severe cases.
How Orbital Decompression Surgery Can Help
Most patients undergo this eye surgery to make the eyes appear symmetrical and the face more evenly proportioned. Most patients also want to reduce the pain or discomfort that a bulging eye can cause, which often puts pressure on the eye, causes eyelid swelling or eyelid retraction, leads to double vision, and/or results in the inability to fully close the eyes.
Orbital decompression surgery can address all of these issues. In addition, this eye surgery is favored by expert Beverly Hills oculoplastic surgeons like Dr. Taban because it’s minimally invasive and can be performed on an outpatient basis. Due to the latest innovations in surgical techniques and technology, minuscule incisions can now be made into the eyelid to make recovery and healing much easier and faster.
How to Prepare for Eye Surgery
You’re likely to be anxious before undergoing any surgery, but especially any procedure that affects the eyes. To ease your concerns, focus on being well prepared beforehand.
For starters, you should reduce your smoking, if not outright quit, in the two weeks prior to surgery (and for at least two weeks after, too), as it interferes with the healing and recovery process. The same goes for alcohol use.
Moreover, prepare cold compresses or bags of ice in your freezer, as you’ll need them to keep the swelling down. Also, avoid vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and medicinal herbs that thin your blood, which could cause excess bleeding. Be sure to tell Dr. Taban about any medications or vitamins you’re regularly taking.
Finally, maintain realistic expectations, which should be easy once you’ve discussed your goals for and motivation behind the eye surgery.
What to Expect from Orbital Decompression Surgery
Most patients tolerate the procedure fairly well under general anesthesia. As an outpatient surgical procedure, orbital decompression surgery usually takes under an hour for each eye. However, this depends on the anatomy of your eye and the severity of the condition.
Post-Op Recovery and Healing
Recovery and healing are usually tolerable, particularly if you take several precautions prior to the procedure.
Because you’ve just had eye surgery, you’re not going to be able to drive home, even though your vision is still intact. Therefore, arrange a ride both to and from home with a trusted loved one. It might also be a good idea for those who live alone to ask a friend to stay that first night with you, as your regular activity is likely to be limited.
Orbital decompression surgery usually results in swelling and bruising for 7-10 days afterward. There could be mild to moderate pain for the first 2-3 days, as well, which can be controlled with pain medications. There should be no loss of vision even with the swelling and bruising, however.
The non-absorbable sutures should be removed in 7-10 days; on the other hand, the absorbable ones should fully disintegrate by themselves. For the first week to 10 days, restrict your activities to allow for better healing and increased chances of achieving your goals.
With better eye symmetry and facial balance, the appearance of your eyes should be improved—and so, too, your self-confidence. Once the incisions are healed, you can put on makeup, wear your contact lenses, and otherwise resume your normal daily routine and activities.
Learn more about Graves’ Disease and how it affects the eyes and vision at WebMD.com.
For More about Treating Bulging Eyes, Contact Dr. Taban
Bulging eyes can be painful and make you feel overly self-conscious, but orbital decompression surgery can eliminate the pain and restore eye symmetry and facial balance. To learn more, contact Dr. Mehryar “Ray” Taban today to schedule a consultation. Contact us online or call (877) 958-9277 (in Beverly Hills) or (805) 669-9101 (Santa Barbara).