Orbital Diseases and Tumors

The orbit (or orbital bone) is the socket that houses the eye and all of its supporting structures. Orbital tumors can emerge within the eye socket or form in adjacent sources, such as the eyelid, paranasal (the space that surrounds the nasal cavity), sinus or intracranial compartment. Some orbital tumors are benign while others are malignant and require medical intervention.

Symptoms of orbital tumors include the following: 

  • Pain
  • Bulging of the eyeball
  • Diplopia (double vision)
  • Pigmented (dark) area on the white part of the eye (conjunctiva)
  • Swollen or droopy eyelid
  • Vision loss
Inflammatory disorders are another class of orbital disease. They involve swelling of the area in and around the orbit and can be dangerous if left untreated.

The cause of orbital inflammation may include the following conditions:
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Parasitic infection
  • Wegener’s granulomatosis (an uncommon disorder when blood vessels become inflamed)
  • Lupus erythematosus (an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks healthy tissue)
  • Sjogren’s syndrome (an immune system disorder that causes dryness in the mouth and eyes)

Sports injuries are common causes of trauma, which can also damage the orbit.

Treatment of Orbital Diseases and Tumors
Some of the milder forms of orbital disease do not require treatment. In other cases, medication may be necessary. For example, infections may require antibiotics, while other inflammatory disorders may respond to steroid treatment.

In cases involving severe trauma, structural surgery may be required. In the cases of a malignant tumor, it may be necessary to remove the growth. At Houston Methodist, an interdisciplinary team of doctors, including ophthalmologists, oncologists and other specialists, works to ensure the highest quality of patient care.