Orbital Tumors

Tumors can grow in the eye socket as they do anywhere else in the body.  Diagnosis generally requires a biopsy. Depending on the nature of the tumor, treatment can be complete removal or a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

What you should know about Orbital Tumors

Tumors, both benign (malformations) and malignant (cancers), may grow or spread to the eye socket or the eyelids (for eyelid cancer click here). They must be treated to preserve vision and sometimes life.

There are only 3 types of orbital tumors that can be diagnosed using CT and MRI: the Dermoid cyst, Cavernous hemangioma and Idiopathic orbital inflammation (Orbital pseudotumor). For all of the rest, an accurate diagnosis can be made only after performing a biopsy. A biopsy is made through a small scar-free incision in the upper eyelid crease or on the inside of the lower eyelid. This allows to remove a small piece of the lesion to be analyzed under the microscope. Once the diagnosis is made or confirmed, the proper treatment can be instituted.

Surgery is the treatment of choice for most benign and very few malignant tumors such as the adenoid cystic carcinoma of the lacrimal gland. The rest of the tumors are treated first with radiation and/or chemotherapy.

Surgery

For those tumors that can be surgically removed, the intervention is done under deep sedation or general anesthesia. The patient can usually go home the same day.

Recovery

A patch may be worn over the eye for the first 24 hours. Antibiotic ointment has to be applied for two weeks. Stitches are removed 10 days later. Minor bruising or swelling can be expected in the first two weeks.