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A blog about cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face, including non-surgical procedures and skin cancer.

Cosmetic Orbital Decompression Surgery

Proptosis is a condition that causes the eyes to appear large and disproportionate to the rest of the face. Bulging eyes receive too much air exposure and are susceptible to harm from foreign objects. Some people are born with proptosis, but people can also develop it later in life. This condition can affect one or both eyes and is more prevalent among certain ethnicities.

What Causes Bulging Eyes?

  • An orbital tumor
  • Thyroid eye disease
  • Sunken cheekbones
  • Shallow eye sockets
  • Genetics

How Do Doctors Treat Bulging Eyes?

Most patients need to visit a board-certified oculofacial cosmetic surgeon to undergo orbital decompression surgery. Bulging eyes often cause irritation, redness and tearing. In addition, some patients are unable to close their eyes fully. To treat the problem, the surgeon must perform orbital eye socket surgery to set the eyeballs in a better position. The surgeon makes tiny incisions to remove bone or fat from behind the eyeballs during this outpatient procedure.

Orbital decompression surgery can also improve a person’s cosmetic appearance. For example, the surgery can make the eyes look more proportional to the rest of the face. If a patient only has one bulging eye, the surgery can make his or her eyes appear more symmetrical. Orbital decompression surgery is especially beneficial for those who are unable to close their eyes fully.

The Surgical and Recovery Process for Bulging Eyes

Patients can visit Dr. Schwarcz, a reconstructive facial surgeon in the New York area to undergo an orbital CT scan. This scan will allow the surgeon to analyze if the patient is a good candidate for orbital decompression surgery. The surgery takes anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes to complete per eye. Surgeons perform the procedure while patients are under general anesthesia. To hide the incisions, the surgeon places them in discrete areas. For example, surgeons often place the incisions inside the eyelid.

After surgery, patients can resume normal activities within 7 to 10 days. Any bruising and swelling that the patient experiences should subside within two weeks. Patients may experience some moderate pain after surgery, but they can manage the pain by taking oral pain medication. If the surgeon used non-absorbable sutures, then the patient can have the sutures removed after one week. Those who wear contact lenses may need to wait 7 to 10 days before using them again.