An orbital tumor refers to any tumor located in the “orbit,” or bony eye socket that contains the eye itself. The bony eye socket is a complicated structure that includes the eye itself along with delicate thin bones, muscles, nerves, and connective tissue that support the eye and its overall function. The eye socket is widest in the front and narrows toward the back, where the optic nerve leaves the socket and connects to the brain.
Even a tiny tumor in this small, crowded space can cause significant symptoms, vision loss, eye movement restrictions and functional effects. Larger tumors can cause the eye to bulge forward and cause serious vision problems.
An orbital tumor can develop anywhere within the orbit and can be “primary,” originating in the orbit itself, or “metastatic,” meaning that it has spread from another location in your body. They can be benign or malignant. Some types of orbital tumors occur primarily in children whereas others are more common in adults. An accurate diagnosis is critical to the development of a treatment plan, which may include endovascular surgery, traditional surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or other medical interventions.
Fortunately, most orbital tumors can be removed surgically and rarely recur once they are removed.