DESCRIPTIONExophthalmos is a protrusion or bulging of one or both eyes. The eyes and surrounding tissue are involved. Appropriate health care includes: physician's monitoring of general condition and medications; surgery to remove a tumor, blood clot, or aneurysm, or to return the child's eyes to their normal position, if necessary, after the underlying cause (such as an overactive thyroid gland) is corrected, or to correct congenital abnormalities.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Bulging eyes, which creates a staring or frightened look; double vision; pain (sometimes); infrequent blinking (sometimes).
Swelling of the tissues behind the child's eye. Swelling may be caused by an overactive thyroid gland (most common cause); an infection or tumor in the supportive tissues behind the child's eye; an aneurysm, blood clot, or hemorrhage in the veins or arteries behind the child's eye; an injury to the eye or face; a congenital deformity of the head.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEObtain prompt medical treatment for your child for the underlying disorder.
Your own observation of symptoms; medical history and physical exam by a doctor; biopsy (See Glossary) of tissue behind the child's eyes; blood and other laboratory studies, particularly studies of your child's thyroid gland function; X-rays of the child's head.
Special studies that may include:
-- Ultrasonography: A non-invasive technique that translates sound waves into images displayed on a screen and photographed (See Glossary).
-- CAT or CT Scan (computerized axial tomography): Non-invasive computerized X-ray images that show sections (or "slices") of an organ or region of the body clearly and precisely (See Glossary).
-- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A non-invasive (non-X-ray) computerized test that uses radio frequency energy and a powerful magnetic field to produce images with excellent detail (See Glossary).
-- Radionuclide Scan: A nuclear medicine procedure that uses radioactive isotopes injected into a patient. The isotope tracers are absorbed in various concentrations by targeted organs, which are then photographed (See Glossary).
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSInjury to the child's eye and impaired vision.
Spontaneous recovery in most cases after the underlying cause is treated. If not, surgery can often correct any remaining protrusion in your child's eye.
If the disorder is caused by an injury to your child, see a doctor immediately.
If your child's vision is affected, don't let the child drive or engage in dangerous activity.
If your child's eyelids don't blink properly, wearing goggles to protect the eyes from wind or dust is necessary.
MEDICATIONIf the child's lids don't blink properly, use non-prescription lubricating eye drops.
Your doctor may prescribe drugs to treat the underlying cause, such as:
-- Anti-thyroid drugs for hyperthyroidism.
-- Antibiotics to fight infection.
-- Cortisone drugs to reduce inflammation.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes, after treatment.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of exophthalmos.
Symptoms don't improve within 5 days after treatment begins.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.