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Cavernous Haemangioma

a) What is cavernous haemangioma?

This is where abnormally dilated blood vessels behind the eye collect together and form a tumour. This is the most common benign orbital tumour in adults. It occurs more often in females and can develop anywhere in the orbit. More commonly, however, it develops beside the muscles that move the eye. Although this tumour is benign, it can grow slowly behind the eye and cause damage.

b) What are the symptoms of cavernous haemangioma?

There may be no symptoms. If the cavernous haemangioma continues to grow, however, it can cause the following:

• Proptosis (Eye sticking out)

• Double vision

• Blurring of vision

c) Will I need any tests?

We may take pictures of the eye and consider the following tests:

• CT scan

• MRI scan (picture above)

This can help us measure the size of tumour and where it is. This is useful if we are planning surgery or to check if the nerve is being squashed. Cavernous haemangioma on MRI scan.

d) What is the treatment of cavernous haemangioma?

If not causing problems we may just observe routinely in the clinic. If, however, it is growing and causing problems, surgery is the best treatment. Unfortunately bleeding, infection or damage to nerves and muscles of the eye can occur during surgery. The risk of this depends on the tumour location and size.