October 17, 2010

Q&A: Features of Eye Tumours in Children

Orbital and ocular tumors are benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) tumors that develop in or around the eyes. Many of these types of tumors are congenital (present at birth) and are benign. Whether they are benign or malignant, orbital and ocular tumors can cause vision problems or disfigurement if left untreated. They can also spread to the optic nerve, the brain and the rest of the body and become life-threatening.

This article is for Medical Students & Professionals
This is a Question & Answer revision article designed for medical students and professionals preparing for the PLAB, MRCP or USMLE examinations. They are based on actual questions from these examinations. You may find the Anatomy Of The Eye article more useful, or one of our many articles on Diseases & Conditions, Medical Syndromes, Health & Wellness or Home Remedies.
In this article:
Causes and types of eye tumours in children
MCQ: clinical scenario
MCQ: answer
MCQ: explanation

Causes and types of eye tumours in children

Among the known causes for orbital and ocular tumors in children are the following:
  • Developmental abnormalities such as an overgrowth of benign (e.g., dermoid cyst, hemangioma) or malignant (retinoblastoma) cells
  • Cancer that has spread from another part of the body
  • Problems with blood vessels, including reduced blood flow or overgrowth of capillaries
The most common orbital and ocular tumors in babies and children are:
  • Dermoid cysts: Benign sac containing fluid and benign tissues that do not belong to the eye or its surrounding area
  • Capillary hemangiomas: Benign growth of tiny blood vessels (most common type)
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma: Cancerous tumor that grows in muscle or connective tissue
  • Retinoblastoma: Cancerous tumor that grows inside the retina of the eye

MCQ: clinical scenario

A malignant tumor of the retina is known to affect children under the age of 5. What is the classical appearance of the pupil at presentation in such a child?

a) constricted pupils
b) dilated pupils
c) irregular pupils
d) argyll robertson pupil
e) hutchinson pupil
f) holmes-adie (myotonic ) pupil
g) Marcus-Gunn pupil
h) sluggish pupil
i) white pupil
j) tonic pupil

MCQ questions & answers on medicalnotes.info

MCQ: answer

The correct answer is I

MCQ: explanation

The cause of most cases of retinoblastoma has recently been determined to be the absence of a tumor suppresser gene. Retinoblastoma and other associated malignancies tend to run in families. One or both eyes may be affected. A visible whiteness in the pupil may be present. Blindness can occur in the affected eye, and the eyes may appear crossed. The tumor can spread to the eye socket, and to the brain, by means of the optic nerve.

The risk factors other than a family history are not known. This is a rare tumor.

Reference(s)
1). Children's National Hospital: Pediatric Orbital and Ocular Tumors. Available online: https://childrensnational.org/visit/conditions-and-treatments/eye-conditions/orbital-and-ocular-tumors

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