Circumscribed choroidal hemangioma: clinical manifestations and factors predictive of visual outcome in 200 consecutive cases

Ophthalmology. 2001 Dec;108(12):2237-48. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(01)00812-0.


Purpose: To review the clinical features and management of circumscribed choroidal hemangioma and determine factors predictive of poor visual outcome.

Design: Retrospective consecutive noncomparative interventional case series.

Participants: Two hundred consecutive patients with circumscribed choroidal hemangioma.

Main outcome measures: The main outcome measures were analyzed in 155 patients with follow-up of at least 3 months and included complete resolution of subretinal fluid, worsening of visual acuity (more than 2 Snellen lines), and poor final visual acuity (20/200 or worse).

Results: The patients were seen at a mean age of 45 years with symptoms of decreased visual acuity (81%), visual field defect (7%), metamorphopsia (3%), floaters (2%), progressive hypermetropia (1%), photopsia (1%), pain (1%), and no symptoms (6%). The referring diagnoses were choroidal hemangioma (29%), choroidal melanoma (29%), choroidal metastasis (9%), retinal detachment (6%), central serous chorioretinopathy (5%), and others. The tumor had a median base of 6.0 mm and median thickness of 3.0 mm. Secondary retinal detachment in the foveal region was present in 81% of the patients. Initial treatment included observation (51%), laser photocoagulation (44%), plaque radiotherapy (4%), external beam radiotherapy (1%), surgical repair of retinal detachment (1%), and enucleation for painful neovascular glaucoma (1%). Kaplan-Meier estimates revealed complete resolution of subretinal fluid in 60% patients at 5 years and 76% patients at 10 years follow-up. By multivariable analysis, clinical factors predictive of complete resolution of subretinal fluid included shorter duration of symptoms (P = 0.03) and inferior quadrant location of tumor (P = 0.001). At initial presentation, 82 of 155 (53%) patients had poor visual acuity (20/200 or worse), and 73 of 155 (47%) patients had good to moderate visual acuity (20/100 or better). Of those 82 patients with poor initial vision, poor final vision was found in 54% at 5 years and 80% at 10 years. Of the 73 patients with good to moderate initial vision, poor final vision was found in 12% at 5 years and 43% at 10 years. By multivariable analysis, clinical factors predictive of poor final visual acuity included poor initial visual acuity (P < 0.001), failure of previous laser photocoagulation before referral (P = 0.01), and tumor management with observation after referral (P = 0.02). Worsening of visual acuity (by more than 2 Snellen lines) was observed in 8% at 5 years and 28% at 10 years of those 82 patients who were initially seen with poor vision. Worsening of visual acuity was found in 10% at 5 years and 30% at 10 years of those 73 patients who initially were seen with good to moderate vision.

Conclusions: Circumscribed choroidal hemangioma is a rare intraocular tumor. In 38% of cases, this tumor is initially misinterpreted before referral as choroidal melanoma or metastasis. Visual acuity is poor in more than 60% of patients at 10 years, despite successful control of associated subretinal fluid in 76% patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Choroid Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Choroid Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Choroid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / diagnosis*
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / radiotherapy
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / surgery
  • Humans
  • Indocyanine Green
  • Laser Coagulation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultrasonography
  • Visual Acuity


  • Indocyanine Green