Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Ophthalmic Tumors

The primary cause of ophthalmic tumors is cancers that have spread from other parts of the body. The most common cancers to metastasize to the eye are breast, lung, bowel and prostate cancer.

Retinoblastoma, on the other hand, has a genetic component. Children of parents who had this type of cancer are at a greater risk of developing this cancer as well.


Diagnosing Ophthalmic Tumors

Your physician may be able to detect the presence of a tumor during a regular eye exam. Further testing may include:
  • Pupil dilation: The pupil is widened with eye drops to allow a close-up examination of the eye's lens and retina.
  • Ophthalmoscopy: A doctor looks very closely at the retina and optic disk using a special magnifying glass.
  • Fluorescein angiography: A special dye is injected into a vein in the arm, and pictures are taken as the dye passes through the blood vessels in the back of the eye. The dye helps the physician see if blood vessels are inflamed.
  • Color fundus photography: Photographs of the fundus (back of your eye) are taken before and after treatment, through dilated pupils.
  • Imaging tests: An MRI, CT scan or ultrasound may be necessary if your physician wants to rule out the possibility of brain lesions or a tumor.
  • Blood tests and bone marrow tests: These tests can determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.