Orbital Tumors

About Orbital Tumors

Fortunately, orbital tumors that develop in or around the eyes are considered extremely rare, and, luckily, usually benign (non-cancerous), but if your child has been diagnosed with an eye tumor you want the most advanced and comprehensive treatment available. Eye tumors, even if benign, can cause serious vision problems and even disfigurement if not properly treated.

The most common type of benign tumor is a cyst or sac containing fluid, or an overgrowth of capillaries or tiny blood vessels called a hemangioma. The most common cancerous form of eye tumor is a rhabdomyosarcoma that grows in eye muscle or connective tissue or a retinoblastoma that grows inside the retina.


Orbital tumors may not be visibly obvious, but some symptoms can be. Some symptoms that you may notice in your child include:

  • A pupil that is white, larger than normal, or reddish and painful
  • Redness or swelling near the eye, usually painless
  • Bright red mark on or near the eye
  • Bulging or crossed eyes

Children with orbital tumors may have this bulging of the eye or proptosis, but keep in mind, before the eye begins to bulge, there may be changes in vision, some double vision, or eye pain that can be a sign of an orbital tumor.


Our Columbia pediatric ophthalmologists may recommend one or more of these tests to find out the cause:

  • Diagnostic imaging, including ultrasound, CT and MRI scans, to assess tumor type, size, location and origin
  • Blood or bone marrow tests to see whether cancer has spread to other parts of the body

Treatments We Offer

Our experienced pediatric ocular oncologists are often able to remove the entire tumor during the biopsy. Depending on the individual circumstances, an orbital tumor may be treated with a range of treatment options to target orbital and ocular tumors, whether they are cancerous or benign. These options may include:

  • Surgery to remove tumors
  • Radiation therapy to target cancer cells and tumors
  • Chemotherapy to kill cancer cells throughout the body
  • Laser therapy to kill tumor cells or close off blood vessels that supply blood to tumors
  • Cryotherapy (use of cold substances) to freeze and destroy tumor tissue

Why Choose Columbia?

Columbia is one of the top cancer treatment designations in the country and in the world. We have the technology, facilities, and specialists to diagnose your child’s eye cancer and to treat it so that it never comes back.