Orbital Tumors

What are Orbital Tumors?

Abnormal growths in the tissue surrounding the eyeball are called orbital tumors. They can be either benign or malignant. Tumors can grow in the bone, the muscles that move the eyeball or in the nerves attached to the eye. Orbital tumors can include cysts, vascular lesions, lymphomas, and secondary tumors. Patients may also experience orbital pseudotumors, or painful inflammation in the same area that is not a tumor, not cancerous, and usually affects younger patients. Pseudotumors can typically be treated with high-dose steroid therapy that is gradually lowered.

What you can expect at the Robert Cizik Eye Clinic

The Cizik Eye Clinic opened in 2007 and is housed in Memorial Hermann Plaza at 6400 Fannin Street. It includes dozens of exam areas, multiple operating rooms, and laser suites equipped with the most sophisticated equipment available for patient care.

People travel from across the country and the world for treatment at the Cizik Eye Clinic, in part because our affiliation with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth provides unmatched resources and expertise. Our friendly staff works diligently to make your visit pleasant and efficient, as we maximize patient flow through everything from routine eye exams to the most advanced eye surgeries.

Our physicians are faculty members at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and are board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology or are board eligible. At the Cizik Eye Clinic, we understand that the eye is a small part of a whole patient who deserves top-notch, comprehensive care in a cutting-edge facility.

Causes of Orbital Tumors

Sometimes orbital tumors occur when cancer spreads from other areas of the body, but they may also be primary tumors, meaning they develop independent of other cancer.

Certain types of eye cancers are more common in whites than in African Americans, Hispanics, or Asians. People with lighter colored eyes and men also tend to be at higher risk.

Symptoms of Orbital Tumors

It is possible for patients with orbital tumors to have no noticeable symptoms. Common symptoms include blurry vision, vision loss, dark spots in the iris, and a change in the size or shape of the pupil. Patients might also notice spots, squiggles, or flashes of lights in their field of vision. The tumor may push on the eyeball, causing it to bulge. That protrusion of the eye is called proptosis.

Diagnosis of Orbital Tumors

An accurate diagnosis is necessary to determine the best treatment plan. Your neuro-ophthalmologist will assess your symptoms, vision, and orbital structure. If necessary, imaging tests, including an ultrasonography, CT scan, or MRI, may be used to evaluate the exact size and location of the tumor. A biopsy may also be required to determine the type of growth. Sometimes surgeons can remove the entire tumor during the biopsy. Some types of orbital tumors include:

  • Hemangiomas: The most common benign orbital tumors that occurs in the vascular system;
  • Meningiomas: A slow-growing tumor that occurs in the protective covering surrounding the brain and optic nerves. About 80% are benign;
  • Optic gliomas: A common benign tumor in supporting cells of the brain;
  • Osteomas: Slow-growing benign tumors in bone;
  • Sarcomas: A rare cancer in the fatty tissue of muscle;
  • Schwannomas: Usually benign tumors in the covering of the nerves.

Treatment of Orbital Tumors

After the evaluation, your doctors will develop a targeted medical or surgical plan to address your condition. If the tumor is benign and not causing symptoms, it is possible that treatment will not be required. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy may be considered. One non-invasive procedure, stereotactic radiosurgery, uses a highly focused beams of radiation to destroy the tumor. Retinoblastoma infuses highly selective intra-arterial drugs into the tumor itself.

Your surgeon will give you specific information related to your particular condition, as well as a detailed description of the surgery and instructions on how to make the best recovery.

Contact Us

At Robert Cizik Eye Clinic, we offer patients access to highly specialized eye and vision care. To ask us a question, schedule an appointment, or learn more about us, please call (713) 486-9400, or click below to send us a message. In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.