Pediatric tumors of the eye and orbit

Pediatr Clin North Am. 2003 Feb;50(1):149-72. doi: 10.1016/s0031-3955(02)00115-3.


Most ocular and orbital tumors of childhood are distinct from tumors that occur in adults. Many are congenital with early presentations. Most pediatric orbital tumors are benign; developmental cysts comprise half of orbital cases, with capillary hemangioma being the second most common orbital tumor. The most common orbital malignancy is rhabdomyosarcoma. The most common intraocular malignant lesion is retinoblastoma. Choroidal melanoma, which is common in adults, is extremely rare in children. The orbit is the most common location for metastases in children, whereas the choroid is the predominant site in adults. Pediatricians play a vital role in diagnosis of pediatric ocular tumors. They are the first to recognize ocular problems that may not be apparent to parents. It is therefore important to recognize the signs and symptoms of ocular tumors of childhood so that prompt ophthalmologic evaluation and treatment may be undertaken. Whereas the malignant tumors may be life-threatening, both malignant and benign tumors may be vision-threatening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Exophthalmos / etiology
  • Eye Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Eye Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Eyelid Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Eyelid Neoplasms / therapy
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / diagnosis
  • Histiocytosis / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / diagnosis
  • Orbital Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Orbital Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Papilloma / diagnosis
  • Retinoblastoma / diagnosis
  • Retinoblastoma / genetics
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / diagnosis