Orbital Tumors

eye doctor examining woman's eyes

What Are Orbital Tumors?

The orbit is the cavity or socket of the skull where 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 permanently compromise your sight and can be life-threatening.

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

  • Cysts
  • Vascular lesions
  • Lymphomas
  • Neurogenic tumors
  • Secondary tumors (from cancer elsewhere in the body, i.e. metastases)


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 scans or MRIs of the head or sinuses.


Initially, a careful examination by one of our oculoplastic specialists is critical. The specialist will evaluate the patient’s symptoms, vision, general health, and structure and function of the surrounding orbital tissues. If necessary, additional testing may be performed. CT scans, MRIs, 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.


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

Doctor and patient smiling