What to Expect with an Orbital Tumor

Published on April 22, 2019

The eye sockets of the skull are also known as the orbits. An orbital tumor is a tumor that has grown in one of the orbits. An orbital tumor, whether behind the eye or around it, causes the eye to be pushed forward, making it bulge outwards. If the closing of the eye is not possible because of the bulging, it can lead to damage of the cornea and blindness.

If you have noticed this bulging when looking in the mirror, you may be experiencing an orbital tumor. For proper diagnosis and treatment, set up an appointment with Dr. Mirwat Sami at Houston Oculofacial.

The Causes of an Orbital Tumor

Most orbital tumors are benign in nature, meaning that they are non-cancerous and once removed surgically, they do not pose any problems.

If an orbital tumor is malignant, it is most likely from a cancer that has spread from some other area. Cancers in other parts of the body like the breast, lung, or prostate can spread to the orbit and cause a tumor. Usually, these kinds of cancers develop at an advanced stage and can be life-threatening.

In most cases, the tumor is a hemangioma, which occurs in the vascular system. These can be safely removed surgically. They are usually observed in children and young adults. In some cases, the tumor can form because of lymphoid eye disease.

Orbital Tumor Symptoms

An orbital tumor typically causes a bulging of the eye, which is noticeable. This can also affect a person’s vision and can cause double vision. If the tumor is infected, inflamed, or cancerous, there is pain in the eye.

In some cases, the tumor is very small and may not cause a bulging of the eye. In such cases, it can only be detected by an MRI scan.

How Is an Orbital Tumor Diagnosed?

While an MRI or CT scan may be used to diagnose the tumor in the eye, a biopsy may also be needed. This will help to determine if the tumor is benign or malignant. An orbitotomy is carried out and a specimen is taken, which is then sent to a lab to determine the type of tumor.

Treatment at Houston Oculofacial

Orbital tumors can cause a variety of problems to the eye, even if benign. Removal of the tumor by Dr. Sami is the best option. In some cases, removal may be difficult, as it may cause damage to the eye or the surrounding structures. In such cases, radiation or chemotherapy may be used to destroy the tumor. If the tumor is cancerous is nature, chemotherapy may be mandatory.

There is also a therapy known as beam radiation, which can be used to treat some types of orbital tumors. Timely treatment can ensure that there is no damage to the eye and vision is not affected in any way.

In the case of advanced cancerous tumors, removal of the eye along with the tumor and the contents of the orbit may be required. This is, however, done only rarely.

If the tumor is large, the removal of the tumor may also be followed by a skull-reconstruction surgery.

Usually, a surgically treated patient needs hospitalization for a week, and recovery can take around three to six weeks.

Contact Houston Oculofacial for Your Consultation

If you’re worried that you may have an orbital tumor, we can help. To schedule your consultation with Dr. Mirwat Sami, a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, contact Houston Oculofacial today.