Orbital Cavernous Hemangioma Clinical Presentation

Updated: Apr 15, 2021
  • Author: Adam J Cohen, MD; Chief Editor: Hampton Roy, Sr, MD  more...
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Patients who present with clinically significant cavernous hemangiomas usually are middle-aged. Some of the more salient clinical symptoms are listed below.

Patients commonly describe a painless, slowly progressive protrusion or bulging of their globe accompanied by mild eyelid fullness.

A change in visual acuity secondary to induced hyperopia or reduction of the myopic refractive error can result from an anteriorly directed mass effect. In some cases, a compressive optic neuropathy can be the etiological basis for the visual acuity or field disturbance.

Extraocular muscle dysfunction and the resultant diplopia secondary to extraocular muscle impingement can cause a patient to seek consultation.

Some patients may describe the feeling of something next to or behind their eye and describe swelling or fullness of their upper lid.

Rarely, a patient harboring a cavernous angioma may describe gaze-evoked amaurosis fugax or headache.

Zauberman and Feinsod described a pregnancy-induced increase in symptomatology. [3]



Performing a complete ophthalmologic examination on patients is beneficial.

As with any examination, a thorough history and review of symptoms is paramount in formulating a comprehensive list of differential diagnoses.

Examination of patients should commence with an observation of facial features, noting any asymmetry or scarring. Palpation of the lids and globes allows one to assess differences in lid fullness and increased resistance to retropulsion. Hertel exophthalmometry can detect axial proptosis and should be documented for comparison on follow-up visits.

Visual and color acuities, as well as visual fields, should be assessed, followed by testing of pupillary and extraocular muscle function. Decreased color vision, visual field deficits, and relative afferent pupillary defects warrant immediate imaging to rule out a compressive optic neuropathy. Additionally, any extraocular motility disturbance should be quantitated with prismatic measurements.

Rarely, slit lamp or penlight evaluation may find dilated and tortuous epibulbar vessels, an epibulbar cherry-red spot, or a darkening over insertions of extraocular muscles.

Dilated funduscopic examination may elucidate choroidal folds secondary to compression of the globe by the mass. If the tumefaction is in close proximity to the optic nerve, visible changes may include edema, elevation, pallor, and even atrophy in severe cases.