Orbital Tumor

What is an Orbital Tumor?

The orbit, or eye socket, is the bony area that protects the eye, its muscles, nerves and tissues. An orbital tumor is any abnormal tissue growth in this area. Most orbital tumors are noncancerous.

Many types of orbital tumors can push the eye forward and cause it to bulge. The most common orbital tumors in children occur in blood vessels or as bone cysts. In adults, the most common orbital tumors occur in blood vessels.

Baptist Health is known for advanced, superior care in diagnosing and treating orbital tumors. Our 24/7 inpatient neurology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology and ear, nose and throat services, as well as our outpatient and Home Health physical, occupational, cognitive and speech therapy services are available to help treat people with orbital tumors. In addition, we have the region’s only advanced 3Tesla MRI, MRI spectroscopy and functional MRI, MRI angiography, CT angiography and conventional cerebral angiography technology to accurately diagnose all manner of neurologic disease, including orbital tumors.

You will appreciate timely appointments and a professional, friendly atmosphere where we take time to listen to your concerns. At Baptist Health, you have access to the region’s most comprehensive, multidisciplinary team of specialists and innovative therapies, including many available only through specialized clinical trials. In every way, we work to demonstrate the utmost in excellent care to those who trust us with their health.

Signs and Symptoms

Orbital tumor signs and symptoms vary, depending on the type. They may include:

  • Bulging of the eye
  • Double vision or loss of vision
  • Droopy or swollen eyelid
  • Feeling of pressure in the eye
  • Flattened eyeball
  • Inability to move eyeballs in synch
  • Noticeable mass in the eye
  • Numbness or tingling around the eye
  • Pain and inflammation


To determine if someone has an orbital tumor, we use advanced diagnostic procedures and technology to effectively diagnose, inform treatment and carefully monitor the condition. Diagnostic procedures can include:

Biopsy: A physician or surgeon can use a fine needle to draw a small amount of tissue, or make a small incision to remove a sample of the tissue that will be examined to determine what type of tumor is present. This procedure is used less often than imaging studies.

Computerized tomography (CT) scan: This test uses X-rays and computers to create images of the tumor to see its location and size, and to rule out other abnormalities.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This test uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce images of the tumor to see its size and location, and to rule out other abnormalities.


The cause of noncancerous orbital tumors is unknown. Sometimes, cancer in another part of the body can spread to the orbit and cause a cancerous tumor to develop.

Risk Factors

Risk factors that may contribute to orbital tumors include:

Abnormal development: Children can be born with abnormalities that can lead to the development of orbital tumors. 

Thyroid eye disease: People who have Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder, are at risk for developing an orbital tumor.


There is no known way to prevent orbital tumors.


The prognosis for an orbital tumor depends on its type, stage and location. Early diagnosis and treatment lead to a better outcome.

Treatment and Recovery

If a tumor does not cause pain or vision problems, it will be monitored by a physician. If treatment is needed, therapies may include:


Antibiotics can be prescribed to treat cysts on the bony wall of the eye socket and corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.

Radiation Therapy

This treatment may be needed after a benign mass is removed. High-energy radiation is directed specifically to the site of the tumor and used to kill tumor cells.

Surgical Procedures

Surgery is often the best treatment for orbital tumors. During surgery, a team of surgeons work together to remove or reduce the tumor, drain cysts or remove bone. If necessary, the skull or orbit may be reconstructed. After surgery, a patient will remain in the hospital three to seven days. Recovery can take two to six weeks. After recovery, cosmetic surgery may be an option to improve appearance.


Orbital tumors can cause complications that include:

Pain and vision problems: Orbital tumors can cause Increased and problems with vision.

Recurrence after surgery: Once an orbital tumor is removed, it can come back.

Next Steps with MyChart

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