Exophthalmos - Definition

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Exophthalmos refers to the protrusion of one eye out of its socket. It may be unilateral when it affects only one eye, or bilateral when it affects both. Exophthalmos may be the result of a tumor in the socket, pushing the eye outward and as it grows, of Graves' disease, an overproduction of thyroid hormones, or trauma. Exophthalmos may prevent closing the eyelid which harms the cornea, but can also compress the optic nerve and ophthalmic artery and lead to blindness.