© The Author(s) 2017. Telomeres are highly susceptible to oxidative DNA damage, which if left unrepaired can lead to dysregulation of telomere length homeostasis. Here we employed single molecule FRET, single molecule pull-down and biochemical analysis to investigate how the most common oxidative DNA lesions, 8- oxoguanine (8oxoG) and thymine glycol (Tg), regulate the structural properties of telomeric DNA and telomerase extension activity. In contrast to 8oxoG which disrupts the telomeric DNA structure, Tg exhibits substantially reduced perturbation of Gquadruplex folding. As a result, 8oxoG induces high accessibility, whereas Tg retains limited accessibility, of telomeric G-quadruplex DNA to complementary single stranded DNA and to telomere binding protein POT1. Surprisingly, the Tg lesion stimulates telomerase loading and activity to a similar degree as an 8oxoG lesion. We demonstrate that this unexpected stimulation arises fromTg-induced conformational alterations and dynamics in telomeric DNA. Despite impacting structure by different mechanisms, both 8oxoG and Tg enhance telomerase binding and extension activity to the same degree, potentially contributing to oncogenesis.