Cavernous hemangiomas are a type of benign tumor that can develop inside your eye or directly behind it. Here are four things you need to know about these tumors.
What are the signs of cavernous hemangiomas?
If you have a cavernous hemangioma, you may notice that one of your eyes is bulging forward in its socket. If the eye gets pushed out far enough, you may also experience other eye conditions like keratitis or corneal ulceration. If this happens, your affected eye will be red, sore, and swollen. Your vision will be blurry, and you may feel like you have something stuck in your eye. If you notice some or all of these symptoms, see your optometrist right away for an eye examination.
What causes them?
Cavernous hemangiomas are vascular tumors. They occur when your blood vessels multiply abnormally and then group together in a dense mass. Researchers still don't know why the blood vessels do this in some people, but they think that genetics may play a role. More research will need to be done to identify the causes of cavernous hemangiomas.
How are they treated?
The treatment for cavernous hemangiomas will vary based on their severity. If your tumor hasn't damaged your eye, your optometrist may want to monitor it. If the tumor doesn't grow and doesn't cause any problems, you may be advised to leave it alone. There is no reason to put yourself through a potentially-dangerous surgery to treat a tumor that is not causing any problems.
If the tumor is growing or causing damage to your eye, it will need to be surgically removed. This procedure will be performed by an ophthalmologist, a doctor that specializes in eye surgery. The surgeon will carefully remove the tumor from behind your eye. You will be given general anesthesia for this procedure, so you'll sleep through the whole procedure. After your surgery, you'll be monitored for complications or recurrence of the tumor.
How common are cavernous hemangiomas?
Cavernous hemangiomas represent 4.3% of tumors within the eye. This makes them the most common intraorbital tumor in adults. They affect people of all races and ethnicities equally, but they are more common among women than men. Generally, these tumors develop when patients are in their thirties, forties, or fifties.
If one of your eyes is bulging forwards, see your optometrist right away. You might have a cavernous hemangioma, a benign eye tumor.