Orbital Tumor Treatment
What Is An Orbital Tumor?
An orbital tumor is any tumor that occurs within the orbit of the eye. The orbit is a bony housing in the skull about 2 inches deep that provides protection to the entire eyeball except the front surface. It is lined by the orbital bones and contains the eyeball, its muscles, blood supply, nerve supply, and fat.
What Causes Orbital Tumors?
Orbital tumors can be either primary (meaning the tumor originated in the orbit) or metastatic (meaning the tumor comes from the spread of cancer elsewhere in the body). Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, can spread to the orbit. When primary orbital tumors develop, their cause is often unknown. Tumors can be growths that extend from the sinuses into the orbit. The lacrimal glands, which secrete the aqueous layer of the tear film, can be a cause. Also, inflammation or infection can lead to an orbital tumor.
Where Do Orbital Tumors Develop?
Tumors may develop in any of the tissues surrounding the eyeball and may also invade the orbit from the sinuses, brain, or nasal cavity, or it may metastasize (spread) from other areas of the body. Orbital tumors can affect adults and children. Fortunately, most are benign.
What are the Symptoms of an Orbital Tumor?
The most common symptom of an orbital tumor is called proptosis, where the eye protrudes forward. This is the complete list of symptoms:
- Bulging forward of the eyeball
- Flattened eyeball
- Numbness or tingling around the eye
- Inability to move one eye in sync with the other
- Vision changes or loss
- Pain around the eye
- Swollen or droopy eyelid
Common Orbital Tumors
- Lymphoma (primary cancer of the orbit that may involve the bone marrow)
- Metastasis (cancer from another part of the body seeding the orbit)
- Secondary cancers spreading from the adjacent structures (skin, sinus, or brain)
- Cavernous hemangioma (benign vascular tumor)
- Meningioma (benign neural tumor)
- Dermoid Cyst
Who is at Risk for Developing an Orbital Tumor?
There aren’t specific risk factors for developing an orbital tumor, but certain types of them occur more often in certain groups. Optic nerve gliomas usually develop in children. Optic nerve sheath meningiomas most often develop in middle-aged women. Retinoblastoma is most common in children.
It is believed two issues may contribute to the development of orbital tumors:
- Abnormal development — Children born with abnormalities can develop these tumors.
- Thyroid eye disease — People with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder, have an elevated risk of developing an orbital tumor.
What is the Process for Removing an Orbital Tumor?
At Central Valley Eye Medical, our orbital surgery specialists, Dr. Tittler and Dr. Cockerham, usually perform these procedures. Orbital tumors may be treated with stereotactic radiosurgery. This is a non-invasive procedure where highly focused beams of radiation are directed at the tumor to destroy it. Chemotherapy, where cancer-fighting drugs are delivered into the bloodstream to seek out and destroy the cancer cells, can also be used.
Surgery is often necessary to remove the tumor, whether benign or malignant, as it can begin pressing on areas of the eye, such as the optic nerve. This can threaten the patient’s vision if left in place. These are complex surgeries, and they often involve Dr. Tittler and Dr. Cockerham working in tandem with a neurosurgeon.
One of the difficulties in these surgeries is determining the path to access the tumor. The tumor is often approached from the side, but it may be necessary to access it from above or below the eye. The surgery can take from 4 to 8 hours, depending upon the complexity of the growth. Reconstruction of the skull and/or orbit may be required.
See What Our Patients Have To Say…
“This is the best place to go to have your vision corrected….very friendly…Dr. Tittler is the best!”
– Beverly W.
“I loved it they were all so nice to my 4 yr old daughter ..Dr. Tittler was the Best!!!!!”
– Dulce M.
What is recovery like after orbital tumor surgery?
After these surgeries, the patient will usually need to stay in the hospital for 3-7 days. Full recovery will take anywhere from 2-6 weeks. Cosmetic surgery may also be necessary after initial recovery.
The Risks of Leaving an Orbital Tumor in Place
Orbital tumors are more often than not benign. Sometimes they don’t cause any pain or vision problems, and the patient has no idea he or she has a tumor. Once it has been found, often through an x-ray for other purposes, the tumor can be monitored to see if it changes or if it starts to impact the patient’s vision.
More often, however, an orbital tumor presents a serious threat to the patient’s vision. They need to be removed to prevent vision damage.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
If you’re interested in learning more about orbital tumor treatment please contact us for a consultation at 1.800.244.9907 or fill out our contact us form. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.