Imaging of orbital disorders

Handb Clin Neurol. 2016:135:659-672. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-53485-9.00031-3.


Diseases of the orbit can be categorized in many ways, but in this chapter we shall group them according to etiology. Inflammatory diseases of the orbits may be infectious or noninfectious. Of the infections, orbital cellulitis is the most common and typically arises as a complication of acute sinusitis. Of the noninfectious, inflammatory conditions, thyroid orbitopathy is the most common and results in enlargement of the extraocular muscles and proliferation of the orbital fat. Idiopathic orbital inflammatory syndrome is another cause of inflammation in the orbit, which may mimic thyroid orbitopathy or even neoplasm, but typically presents with pain. Masses in the orbit may be benign or malignant and the differential diagnosis primarily depends on the location of the mass lesion, and on the age of the patient. Lacrimal gland tumors may be lymphomas or epithelial lesions of salivary origin. Extraocular muscle tumors may represent lymphoma or metastases. Tumors of the intraconal fat are often benign, typically hemangiomas or schwannomas. Finally, globe tumors may be retinoblastomas (in children), or choroidal melanomas or metastases in adults.

Keywords: PHPV; idiopathic orbital inflammatory syndrome; lacrimal gland; optic nerve glioma; optic nerve meningioma; orbital cellulitis; retinoblastoma; thyroid orbitopathy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Orbital Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Orbital Diseases / etiology
  • Thyroid Gland / diagnostic imaging
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology