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Optometry. 2010 Dec;81(12):638-46. doi: 10.1016/j.optm.2009.10.014.

Orbital pseudotumor after an upper respiratory infection: a comprehensive review.

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West Haven Veterans Administration, Department of Optometry, 950 Campbell Avenue, West Haven, CT 06516, USA.



Idiopathic orbital inflammation (IOI), also known as orbital pseudotumor, is a nonspecific orbital inflammation of unknown etiology. IOI can clinically mimic many other orbital pathologies, some of which can be life-threatening, as in the case of orbital cellulitis. Thus, it is imperative for the clinician to emergently arrive at the correct diagnosis. In many cases, however, IOI presents as a clinical and therapeutic challenge, and conclusive diagnosis is only confirmed after all other etiologies have been ruled out.


A 63-year-old man presented urgently with a red, proptotic, painful eye. After history, blood tests, radiologic testing, and ruling out other emergent etiologies, such as orbital cellulitis, the patient was placed on oral steroids. He responded immediately to the steroid treatment. However, the patient did have a recurrence. With the second IOI episode, the patient noted, as previously, a preceding upper respiratory infection. This case may possibly show an association between an infectious trigger leading to a nonspecific aberrant immune response in the orbit.


IOI is a difficult condition to diagnose and treat. After ruling out other orbital pathologies, it is appropriate to begin treatment with oral steroids. In this case report, the patient noted an upper respiratory infection before each episode of IOI. Although there is no proof of cause, there is a strong case for the consideration of a viral respiratory infection leading to IOI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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