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Orbital Tumors

The orbit is the cavity or socket of the skull in which the eye is situated.  Tumors and inflammation can occur behind the eye in the orbit.  This can cause the eye to push forward, leading to a bulging of the eye (proptosis).  It is extremely important to seek medical attention for orbital tumors as they may be sight and life threatening.

The most common types of orbital tumors vary considerably by age, but include:

  • cysts
  • vascular lesions
  • lymphomas
  • neurogenic tumors
  • secondary tumors (from a cancer elsewhere in the body, i.e. metastases)

Symptoms

Many patients with orbital tumors notice a bulging or prominence of the eyeball.  Some may notice double vision.  Infections, inflammation and certain orbital tumors may cause  pain.  Orbital tumors are sometimes found during CT scan or MRI of the head or sinuses.


Diagnosis

Initially, a careful examination by one of our oculoplastic specialists is critical.  The patient’s symptoms, vision, general health and structure and function of the surrounding orbital tissues will be evaluated.  If necessary, additional testing may be performed.  CT scans, MRI’s and ultrasound tests may help in determining the diagnosis.  Many orbital tumors are diagnosed by a surgical biopsy.  A specimen is then sent to a pathologist to determine the exact diagnosis.


Treatment

The recommended treatment depends on the type of tumor present.  Not all orbital tumors require surgical excision.  In some, radiation, chemotherapy or immunotherapy may be indicated.  

If you are concerned that you may have an orbital tumor, please make an appointment with one of our skilled oculoplastic surgeons as soon as possible.