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Orbital Tumors

What is an orbital tumor?

An orbital tumor is any tumor that occurs within the orbit of the eye. The orbit is a bony housing in the skull about 2 inches deep that provides protection to the entire eye except the front surface. It is lined by the orbital bones and contains the eye, its muscles, blood supply, nerve supply, and fat.

What are the symptoms of an orbital tumor?

Orbital tumors, depending on the location, can cause vision loss, proptosis (eyeball protrusion), double vision, tearing, and eye pain.

What causes orbital tumors?

Tumors can develop from any of the tissues surrounding the eye. They may also invade the orbit from the sinuses, brain, or nasal cavity, or may metastasize (spread) from cancers elsewhere in the body. Orbital tumors can occur at any age. Fortunately, most are benign.

What are the most common orbital tumors?

Orbital tumors in children are usually benign from developmental abnormalities. The most common orbital tumor in adults are vascular, including hemangioma, lymphangioma, and arteriovenous malformation. Lymphomas are the most common malignant orbital tumors in adults.

Common cancerous orbital tumors include:

  • Lymphoma (primary cancer of the orbit that may involve the bone marrow)
  • Metastasis (cancer from another part of the body seeding the orbit)
  • Secondary cancers spreading from the adjacent structures (skin, sinus, or brain)

Common non-cancerous orbital tumors include:

  • Cavernous hemangioma (benign vascular tumor)
  • Meningioma (benign neural tumor)
  • Dermoid Cyst

How are orbital tumors treated?

After imaging and laboratory tests, your physician will determine whether surgery is the best approach. If surgery is felt to be the best option, this will take place at a hospital as an outpatient surgery . In some cases, it may be necessary to work with other physicians such as neurosurgeons, otolaryngologists (ENTs) or oncologists to ensure sufficient and complete treatment.