Imaging of retinal and choroidal vascular tumours

Eye (Lond). 2013 Feb;27(2):208-16. doi: 10.1038/eye.2012.251. Epub 2012 Nov 30.


The most common intraocular vascular tumours are choroidal haemangiomas, vasoproliferative tumours, and retinal haemangioblastomas. Rarer conditions include cavernous retinal angioma and arteriovenous malformations. Options for ablating the tumour include photodynamic therapy, argon laser photocoagulation, trans-scleral diathermy, cryotherapy, anti-angiogenic agents, plaque radiotherapy, and proton beam radiotherapy. Secondary effects are common and include retinal exudates, macular oedema, epiretinal membranes, retinal fibrosis, as well as serous and tractional retinal detachment, which are treated using standard methods (ie, intravitreal anti-angiogenic agents or steroids as well as vitreoretinal procedures, such as epiretinal membrane peeling and release of retinal traction). The detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of vascular tumours and their complications have improved considerably thanks to advances in imaging. These include spectral domain and enhanced depth imaging optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT and EDI-OCT, respectively), wide-angle photography and angiography as well as wide-angle fundus autofluorescence. Such novel imaging has provided new diagnostic clues and has profoundly influenced therapeutic strategies so that vascular tumours and secondary effects are now treated concurrently instead of sequentially, enhancing any opportunities for conserving vision and the eye. In this review, we describe how SD-OCT, EDI-OCT, autofluorescence, wide-angle photography and wide-angle angiography have facilitated the evaluation of eyes with the more common vascular tumours, that is, choroidal haemangioma, retinal vasoproliferative tumours, and retinal haemangioblastoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Choroid Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Fluorescein Angiography / methods
  • Hemangioblastoma / diagnosis*
  • Hemangioma / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Vascular Tissue / diagnosis*
  • Optical Imaging / methods
  • Photography / methods
  • Retinal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods