The orbit is the bony “box” or structure located on either side of the nose that surrounds and protects the eyes and the tissue around the eyes. Each orbit is a pear shaped structure, and is formed by seven different bones. Different types or tumors and growths in the orbit can occur around and behind the eye.

What are the types of orbital tumors?

There are many different types of tumors that occur in the orbit, in both children and adults, ranging from benign to malignant. Thankfully most orbital tumors are benign, but they can still cause damage to the eye and surrounding structures.  Some orbital tumors grow slowly and go unnoticed while others can grow rapidly.

CT scans and MRI’s are the best method for detecting and differentiating these lesions to determine the diagnosis. Once the location is identified, along with the general characteristics of the lesion, a treatment plan can be created.

What are the symptoms of an orbital tumor?

Most patients with orbital tumors notice a bulging of the eye or proptosis. But usually before the eye starts to bulge, changes in vision, double vision, or pain can be a presenting sign of an orbital tumor. Infections, inflammations and certain orbital cancers can also cause pain. Less commonly, orbital tumors may be an incidental finding on a CT scan or MRI.

Orbital tumors can be easily detected when they are large however, smaller tumors can be harder to diagnose, as symptoms may be mild. Also many symptoms caused by an orbital tumor can be seen with other conditions, such as Thyroid Eye Disease, other inflammations or infections.

Common Symptoms of orbital tumors:

  • Protrusion of the eyeball (proptosis)
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Pain
  • Decrease of vision
  • Double vision
  • Redness and swelling
  • Visible mass

How is an Orbital Tumor Diagnosed?

In many instances CT scans, MRI’s and ultrasound confirm the presence of an orbital tumor and can help in determining the probable type, but most orbital tumors are diagnosed by a surgical biopsy during removal of the tumor. The biopsy is examined by a pathologist to determine the exact type and diagnosis.

How is an orbital tumor treated?

Most orbital tumors are surgically removed. However, every case is different because every eye, orbit, and tumor varies depending on the size, location, and type. Some orbital tumors are so mild they require no treatment and some require radiation therapy or surgery preformed by an ophthalmic plastic surgeon to remove the mass. Surgery, thanks to the latest generation CT scans and MRI’s has become a much safer alternative than in the past. As an oculofacial plastic surgeon, Dr. Lissauer is trained in orbital surgery and tumor removal.

In select cases, Dr. Lissauer performs orbital tumor surgery with other surgeons in a combined removal of the tumor. This provides a very specialized approach to removing the orbital tumor in one surgical procedure, reducing further surgeries.

If you are scheduling a consultation for an orbital tumor evaluation, please bring in any past records, operative reports, pathology reports, or CT scans and MRI’s to your appointment.

If you would like to schedule a consultation regarding an orbital tumor please contact our New York office at: 212-717-2150 for an appointment.