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Blind students with white canes waiting to cross Congress Avenue, a busy six lane road.

DESCRIPTION: May occur in any part of the eye or its related structures; may be benign or malignant. Lid tumors of the benign type include nevi, warts, molluscom contagiosum, xanthelasma, and hemangioma; malignancies of the lids include carcinoma, sarcoma, and melanoma. The conjunctiva is also a site for a number of both benign and malignant growths. The cornea is subject to extensions of conjunctival carcinomas and melanomas. Intraocular tumors are more difficult to differentiate (between the benign and malignant types) since biopsy is difficult if not impossible. Orbital tumors are difficult to identify until they are large enough to displace the eyeball. The CAT scan and untrasonography are often used as diagnostic tools, and help to locate the tumor for surgical exploration.

(see also Retinoblastoma)

TREATMENT: Treatment varies from local excision to radiotherapy to enucleation, depending on the location, size, and type of growth.

Educational considerations should follow recommendations based on a functional vision evaluation.

IMPLICATIONS: Many tumors can be diagnosed early, since they are usually visible, interfere with vision, or displace the eyeball to some extent. Delay in diagnosis can lead to difficulties in treatment and/or surgery, and possible loss of useful vision. Enucleation may be necessary if the tumor is life-threatening (as in retinoblastoma).

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