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Protruding Eyes

Protruding or bulging eyes is the abnormal projection of one or both eyeballs. In a normal eye there should be no white visible between the top of the iris (the colored part of the eye) and the upper eyelid.  If white is visible in this area, it is usually a good indication that the protruding is abnormal. Graves' Disease has been identified as the most common cause of protruding eyes, and when the condition is resultant from Graves' Disease, it is referred to as Graves' Ophthalmopathy. This is a very complex disease that produces diverse symptoms ranging from mild eye irritation to extreme bulging to blindness.  Treatment is aimed at either shrinking the orbital contents or expanding the orbit using corticosteroids, radiation therapy, and surgical intervention.  Treatment must be tailored to each patient and often combined therapy is necessary. Other causes include Cancer and tumors, Glaucoma, injuries, hemorrhage and infections.


  • Dr. Cole has performed thousands of eye surgeries & he performs them regularly
  • Dr. Cole was named as “One of America’s Top Ten” Oculoplastic Surgeons
  • Dr. Cole achieves results that restore function and a natural looking appearance
  • Dr. Cole employs surgery to prevent potential nerve damage to the eye(s)
  • Dr. Cole educates each patient and then individualizes their treatment plan
  • Dr. Cole’s patients have found him to be skilled, sensitive & trustworthy

Graves Disease is a type of hyperthyroidism which causes many unwelcome health problems including anxiety, sleep difficulty, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, weight loss and protruding (bulging) eyes, eye irritation and redness.  The disease starts off mild and gradually worsens over 2-3 years before it plateaus, but during this time it is continuously producing excess fat tissue behind the eyes. This build up of fat tissue is caused by a specific protein in the thyroid that is attacked by an antibody, which results in protruding or bulging of the eyes.  The critical concern is how severe it may become before it plateaus and perhaps improves on its own as it does in some cases. Dr. Cole performs the correct surgery based upon individual needs.


This surgery involves Dr. Cole removing a portion of bone between the eye socket and sinuses, allowing more room for the swollen tissues behind the eyes.  This decreases the pressure behind the eyes, resumes normal blood drainage, relieves discomfort and allows the eyes to assume a more normal position.

Swelling of the eyes associated with Graves' Ophthalmopathy often causes the eye muscles to become stiff or tight.  This causes misalignment of the eyes resulting in double vision.  Dr. Cole performs this surgery to detach the muscle from the eye and reattach it in a new position to correct the misalignment. 

People with Graves' Disease usually experience much discomfort because their eyelids open more widely and are more difficult to close completely. Dr. Cole corrects this problem with eyelid surgery to reduce irritation and discomfort and to repair eyelids damaged from bulging, injuries, and other problems.


What Are The Most Common Eye Manifestations Associated With Graves' Disease?
They are diverse and include eyelid lag, soft tissue swelling, blepharoptosis (drooping), corneal damage, diplopia (double vision) and optic nerve neuropathy. 

When Is Surgery Required For Protruding Eyes?
During your consultaiton, Dr. Cole will evaluate and determine if surgery is required.

Will Insurance Cover Surgery For Protruding Eyes Caused By Graves' Disease?
Your insurance carrier should cover these procedures since they are medically necessary.  You will need to contact them before starting treatment.


Dr. Cole is a quadruple board certified surgeon which means he has met the rigorous high standards and training requirements of four medical boards.  This involved several years more of specialized training and experience in all four areas – in addition to medical school, internships, residencies, fellowship training and vast experience. Board certification does not guarantee a certain outcome, but it does ensure specialized training skill and expertise far beyond the norm.
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Focusing on natural, beautiful results, Dr. Cole is committed to helping you to achieve your goals in anti-aging and beauty. Using numerous, innovative medical and cosmetic treatments, we educate and guide you toward safe, effective solutions, incorporating non surgical and surgical cosmetic facial rejuvenation procedures. Dr. Cole’s effective, proven treatment plans are tailored especially for you, and will help you reach your goals and attain BEAUTY THAT SHOWS!

Dr. Cole offers truly transformative results! If you’re ready to dramatically enhance your appearance, call us today for a consultation at 404-256-1500.

Dr. Harvey "Chip" Cole | Oculus Plastic Surgery | | Phone 404-256-1500 or Toll Free 800-4-DrCole | 5505 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Suite 640 Atlanta, GA 30342
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