Orbital (eye) tumors usually arise spontaneously but can have an inherited genetic component. It can also impact the eye making it appear to “bulge out” and create an unwanted appearance. This is called orbital proptosis and other causes of it include Grave’s disease although this condition usually will affect both eyes simultaneously. Orbital tumors are very serious because they can cause vision loss or blindness and may even spread to other parts of the body if they are malignant.
What is an Orbital Tumor?
There are many different types of orbital tumors and fortunately many of them are benign. This means the tumors are generally contained to a specific area, do not spread outside of the eye, and do not initially invade into adjacent structures. However, over time, the growth of these tumors can cause compression on the optic nerve and adjacent blood vessels and muscles severely impacting vision. Orbital tumors generally cause one eye to appear enlarged or proptotic when they reach a certain size.
Orbital Tumor Symptoms
Concerning symptoms associated with eye tumors include:
- Bulging of one eye
- Double vision
- Decreased vision in one eye
- Inability to close one eyelid
- Increased pain or discomfort in one eye
- Irritation of the eye, redness or excessive tearing
Orbital Tumor Treatment
If you have signs or symptoms of an orbital tumor it is critical to consult a Rhinologist immediately for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. The initial evaluation will consist of an examination of the eye(s) and a nasal endoscopy (looking inside the nose with a small camera) to determine if a sinus tumor is invading into the orbit. Next, an MRI of the orbit is performed to determine if there is a tumor mass in the orbital cavity and exactly where it is located.
For orbital neoplasms that are medial to the optic nerve we can safely perform transnasal minimally invasive endoscopic orbital tumor resection. This approach is done through the nose without any visible scars or incisions. The key is choosing an approach tailored to the severity, size, and location of your eye tumor.
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