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Benign Eye Diseases


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Non-cancerous tumors and inflammation sometimes occur in the tissues around the eye. These growths are called benign eye tumors or benign eye disease. However, they can cause severe discomfort as well as several health issues, such as pushing the eye forward, bulging, or protrusion.

People with benign and cancerous eye conditions receive national leading care from experts at Sylvester and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Health System. Bascom Palmer is consistently ranked as the nation's #1 ophthalmology hospital by U.S News & World Report.

Types of benign diseases of the eye include:

  • Orbital Pseudotumor: An often painful swelling of tissue behind the eye, which occurs in the hollow space where the eye sits (the orbit). The condition doesn’t spread to other tissues or places in the body, but the swelling can impact other tissues around the eye. The swelling can make eye movement difficult or may cause the eye to protrude outward. Orbital pseudotumor can affect one or both eyes.
  • Benign Lymphoid Hyperplasia (LH): Lumps that can occur in the eye, which can be associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Thyroid Eye Disease: A condition that causes the immune system to attack the thyroid gland. The gland responds by secreting an excess thyroid hormone, which affects the eye muscles and connective tissue in the eye socket. Symptoms can include a goiter (enlarged thyroid in the neck) and bulging eyes.

Why Choose Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center?

Sylvester is an NCI-designated cancer center. The National Cancer Institute has recognized Sylvester for its outstanding work conducting research in its laboratories, treating patients in its clinics and hospitals, and reaching out to medically underserved communities with innovative prevention strategies.

Multidisciplinary care teams. You have a comprehensive eye care team on your side. Your team will include experts in ophthalmology, dermatology, ocular oncology, radiation oncology and pathology. Working together, they provide you with individualized care and your best possible results.

More experience than other centers. We see more patients with common and rare eye diseases than anyone else, and that shows in our ability to diagnose and treat serious eye conditions.

One of only six designated Cancer Centers of Excellence in Florida. We treat cancer, and only cancer, giving you the best potential outcomes. You can be confident knowing you are in the best possible place to treat your cancer in South Florida.

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report. Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is the top-rated facility in the country for the treatment of diseases and disorders of the eye.

Reconstructive surgery specialists. If your eye disease is severe, and requires some degree of surgery, we offer reconstructive surgery and plastic surgery options. Our Sylvester-Bascom Palmer team has top specialists in this field for facial and eye cases. We can restore as natural a look as possible. Our goal is to restore a natural look and allow you to return to daily activities as quickly as possible.

Questions? We're here to help.

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Treatments are customized for each person's needs. Therapies we choose from include:

  • Active Surveillance

    Your doctor and Sylvester team might recommend active surveillance, also known as watchful waiting, for some orbital eye inflammations. If appropriate, we will monitor your condition closely to see if it resolves on its own. If not, we proceed to one of our other treatment plans.

  • High-Dose Steroid Therapy

    Medical steroids are medicines that mimic the natural steroids produced in the body by your adrenal glands. Steroids decrease inflammation in the body and they also stop some cells from multiplying. Steroid medicines come in oral form (pills) or are delivered intravenously (with a needle) through a vein. Other topical steroids include creams and drops. Corticosteroids are a commonly used steroid for eye and ocular growths.

  • Radiation Therapy

    Radiation therapy is delivered to eye conditions in two ways: external beam radiation therapy and plaque brachytherapy. When appropriate, brachytherapy can deliver treatment to the tumor with no exposure to nearby healthy cells. A type of radiation "seed" (the size of a piece of rice) is attached to the tumor.

  • Chemotherapy (Systemic Medical Therapy)

    When steroid therapy is not successful, some patients receive chemotherapy medicines to help reduce inflammation and shrink any tumor. Chemo can be given as oral pills or intravenously.

    • If you need intravenous (infusion) chemotherapy, you can have it at the Comprehensive Treatment Unit (CTU) at Sylvester’s main location in Miami, a 12,000-square-foot unit that includes 33 recliners and 11 private rooms. If you prefer, you may have your infusion treatments at the Kendall, Plantation, Hollywood, Coral Springs, Coral Gables, or Deerfield Beach locations.

  • Minimally Invasive Surgery

    When needed, orbital (eye) tumors can be removed using traditional surgery or minimally invasive endoscopic surgery. Minimally invasive surgery is performed through your nose using an endoscope, a flexible, tube-like instrument with a light and tiny camera. The endoscope also has micro-sized cutting tools on it to remove any tissue or tumors seen. The benefit of endoscopic surgery is smaller incisions, typically faster healing time, and shorter hospital stays. Cosmetic and reconstructive surgery options are available after surgery if needed.


During an eye exam, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and may check your vision and eye movements with an indirect ophthalmoscope (an instrument with a light and a small magnifying lens). Following this, imaging tests can include:

  • Ultrasound

    Ultrasound exams help us determine the size, shape, and location of a tumor. They are especially helpful for when the back of the eye can't be seen during the eye exam. Sylvester has state-of-the-art ultrasound machines with dedicated, highly trained ultrasound technicians. Working with Bascom Palmer eye experts, we provide fast, accurate diagnostic results.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan

    An MRI uses a combination of a magnet and radio waves, along with a computer to create a series of in-depth pictures. An MRI of the head allows us to see the eye and socket better and look for possible disease.

  • Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

    CT scans involve X-ray imaging — taking pictures of the inside of your eye and also of the surrounding structures of the eye. The images are combined by a computer, giving a detailed 3D picture of the area.

  • Biopsy

    Orbital tumors can be diagnosed using a biopsy (tissue sample) called an orbitotomy or with a vitrectomy (sample of vitreous gel from inside the eye) under local or general anesthesia.

  • Blood and Spinal Fluid Tests

    Systematic testing (blood and spinal fluid) may show signs of inflammation or abnormal cells. The tests look at complete blood cell counts, sedimentation rates, uric acid levels, and more.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.