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Orbital tumors

The orbit or “eye socket” is the cavity of the skull in which the eye is situated. Just as with any parts of the body, the eye socket can be affected by masses or tumors, both benign and malignant. Because the eye socket has a fixed amount of space, these growths can cause symptoms as they grow and can ultimately threaten your vision or, rarely, your health. As board certified ophthalmologists fellowship trained in oculoplastic surgery, Drs. Garibaldi and Wong have the expertise required to correctly diagnose and treat growths that affect the orbit.


Patients with orbital tumors may present with vision symptoms or with a change in the appearance of their eye or eye socket. When masses grow and begin to press on the eye or eye muscles, they can cause blurred vision or double vision. If the closure of the eyelids is affected, symptoms can include pain, redness or tearing. Occasionally there are no symptoms and the mass is discovered on an imaging study performed for another reason entirely.


The most common types of orbital tumors vary with age, but include:

  • Cysts
  • Vascular lesions
  • Inflammatory growths
  • Lymphomas
  • Primary eye socket cancers
  • Skin cancers that grow into the socket
  • Metastatic tumors (tumors that have spread to the orbit from elsewhere)

Drs. Garibaldi and Wong will perform a thorough examination at your initial consultation and review any imaging studies you may have had. If necessary, additional testing may be ordered. CT, MRIs and ultrasound can help in determining the cause of an orbital mass. If a biopsy is required, a specimen is sent to a pathologist to determine the exact diagnosis.


When possible, orbital tumors are completely removed. If they cannot be removed or if removal will cause damage to vital structures around the eye, a piece of tumor may be removed and sent for evaluation by a pathologist and alternative treatment measures are required. These can include steroids, chemotherapy or radiation. Drs. Garibaldi and Wong will help to determine the proper treatment plan for your specific condition and work with other physicians as needed to help address your symptoms.

If you are noticing any symptoms of an orbital tumor, you should contact your ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Call our experienced doctors at  1-866-SEE-OCLI or schedule your appointment today.



Reviewed by Daniel Garibaldi, MD, FACS

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