Woman whose rare condition made her eyes bulge out of their sockets

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A woman who suffered from a rare condition that made her eyes bulge has undergone surgery to save her sight.
Muni Abubakar, 34, underwent the pioneering operation to adjust her eye lids two years ago after being warned she was at risk of glaucoma.
The insurance worker was left feeling ‘deformed’ as a result of her eyes being pushed forward and protruded from their sockets.
Often strangers would ridicule her for her unusual appearance, and children would sometimes even be afraid of her.
Doctors told her it was down to Graves’ disease – an autoimmune disorder that causes swelling of the tissues around the eyes.
But lid retraction surgery proved to be a success, and has made her happy with her appearance once again.
Ms Abubakar, from Los Angeles, said: ‘It was one of the best decisions I could have made.
‘The surgery not only helped me to look physically better but I also noticed the pressure behind my eyes wasn’t as bad.
‘I still feel like I don’t look like myself but I’m okay with that for now. I have learned so much about my body after being diagnosed with this disease.
‘I may have another eye surgery in the future depending on if my thyroid gets out of whack again and my eyes get worse.’
Ms Abubakar first noticed something was wrong with her health as a student in her early twenties.
Unable to focus at school, she was left tired all the time and was battling extreme fatigue.
In a desperate attempt to get her through each day, she began to damage her health by drinking copious amounts of energy drinks and soda.
Her friends started to notice a change in her mood, going from her usual caring self to someone ‘distant and irritable’.
Ms Abubakar added: ‘One of the hardest things about having this disease is the fact that it attacked my eyes.
‘Even though through the years my thyroid had been more stable than not, my eyes continued to protrude.
‘This was very emotional for me as it got to the point where people would stare at me and laugh or ask me what was wrong with my eyes.
‘What was even worse was that children would notice instantly and sometimes be afraid of me.
‘My eyes would feel extremely dry and I always felt like my eyes were swollen. I became very emotional about my change in appearance.’
As a result of her condition, she also began to have heart palpitations. Sometimes they were so strong that she would be close to passing out.
It was one of these that she suffered while driving that led her directly to the emergency room.
Blood tests revealed that she had elevated thyroid levels – which can cause an irregular heartbeat.
She added: ‘My eye doctor asked if I had thyroid disease because my eyes appeared to protrude.
‘I told her that larger eyes were a family trait. I wasn’t familiar with thyroid disease at the time.
‘But now that I was in the emergency room I thought maybe I had this diagnosis for the last two years or maybe even longer.’
It was 2008 when Ms Abubakar was finally diagnosed with Grave’s disease by an endocrinologist.
After being warned the protrusion could cause glaucoma, she decided to have orbital decompression in 2014 as a protective measure.
And in 2015, she had a lid retraction to adjust her eyelids.
Ms Abubakar has decided to share her story to help other Graves’ sufferers.
She said: ‘I realised after reading articles on the disease and seeing others share their story I could do the same.
‘Sometimes we just need to know that we are not alone. This disease is not talked about a lot and it’s easy to feel alone.’

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