Rare Ophthalmology News

Disease Profile

Orbital varix

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Orbital venous varix


Eye diseases


An orbital varix is an abnormally enlarged, thin walled vein that is in direct communication with the normal orbital vessels. Orbital varices can be primary (most likely present from birth and confined to the orbit) or secondary (acquired due to increased blood flow in association with additional venous malformations elsewhere in the body). Symptoms such as intermittent double vision (diplopia) or bulging eyes (proptosis), pain and/or orbital bleeding (hemorrhage) may be brought on by stooping, bending, coughing or straining. Small lesions are managed through observation. Larger lesions may require surgery.[1][2][3]


Most people with orbital varices experience little too few symptoms and require no treatment.[4] Occasionally progressive eye pain, eye bulging, compression of the optic nerve, vision loss and/or disfigurement develops and prompts treatment.[4][5][6] 

There are no well established guidelines for treatment. Treatment is individually tailored to the patient. People seeking treatment for obital varices benefit from a consultation with a team of doctors, such as an opthalmologist, neurosurgeon, and/or neurointerventional radiologist.[4][5] Treatment with electrothrombosis (the use of an electrical current to block blood flow to the varix),[5] stereotactic gamma knife radiosurgery[4], sclerotherapy, surgical resection, and embolization (blocking of blood flow through the varix) with cyanoacrylate glue followed by excision have been described in the medical literature.[5]

Learn more

These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

In-Depth Information

  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Orbital varix. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


  1. N Islam, K Mireskandari, GE Rose . Orbital varices and orbital wall defects. Br J Ophthalmol. June 2004; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1772180/?tool=pubmed. Accessed 7/17/2012.
  2. MN Neiberg. An unusual presentation of a lid varix. Optometry. May 2009; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19410226. Accessed 7/17/2012.
  3. F Gaillard et al.. Orbital venous varix. Radiopaedia.org. 2012; https://radiopaedia.org/articles/orbital-venous-varix. Accessed 7/17/2012.
  4. Xu D, Liu D, Zhang Z, Zhang Y, Song G. Gamma knife radiosurgery for primary orbital varices: a preliminary report. Br J Ophthalmol. 2011 Sep;95(9):1264-7; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20971792. Accessed 1/10/2013.
  5. Couch SM, Garrity JA, Cameron JD, Cloft HJ. Embolization of orbital varices with N-butyl cyanoacrylate as an aid in surgical excision: results of 4 cases with histopathologic examination. Am J Ophthalmol. 2009 Oct;148(4):614-618.e1; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19541289. Accessed 1/10/2013.
  6. Tsai AS, Fong KS, Lim W, Al Jajeh I, Chuah CT, Rootman J. Bilateral orbital varices: an approach to management. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2008 Nov-Dec;24(6):486-8; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19033851. Accessed 1/10/2013.

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