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Diagnostica per Immagini
Fondi e Assicurazioni
Humanitas Medical Care Bergamo

Varici orbitarie

orbital varices


The orbital varices are the most frequent irregularities of the blood vessels of the eye orbit. Most of the time affecting one half of the face and are to be located in the superior-nasal quadrant of the eye.


What are the orbital varices?

The disease is characterized by swelling of one or more venous vessels ( “caput medusae”).

The expansion may be visible if detected in the eyelids or under the conjunctiva. Often the problem can extend to the orbit.

Bleeding and thrombosis are among the possible complications.


What are the causes of orbital varices?

The varicose veins may be formed as a result of various causes, such as a weakness of the wall of the vessels of congenital origin or as a result of factors such as compression by the tumor, an arterial aneurysm, an arteriovenous malformation, a trauma or infection that involves the wall of the vein. The obstruction of a vein is another possible cause that can be present alone or in conjunction with the weakness of the vessel wall.


What are the symptoms of orbital varices?

Onset of a orbital varices occurs with a protrusion of the eyeball non-pulsating, not associated with murmurs and intermittently. Since the orbital veins are devoid of valves, the protrusion is reversible. A cause or aggravate the disease is the increased venous pressure, associated, for example, coughing, in efforts or forced exhalation against a closed glottis (the so-called Valsalva maneuver).



The diagnosis is clinical and to do so it is essential to perform the Valsalva maneuver (forced expiration against a closed glottis).

Other tests that may be prescribed by your doctor are:

visual field examination

Visit orthoptics

Magnetic resonance imaging of the orbits so we can thoroughly study the extent of the lesion within them

multidisciplinary consulting



Treatment is exclusively surgical and expects “occlusion” of varicose veins and is indicated in cases of thrombosis repeated, pain, severe protrusion of the eyeball and optic nerve compression.

The surgery is very complex and often does not run in a complete way because these injuries are fragile and tend to bleed easily enough.



There are unfortunately preventive measures.