Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Spontaneous Orbital Hemorrhage Related to the Extraocular Muscles

Chan, Helen H. L., M.B.B.S.*; Hardy, Thomas G., F.R.A.N.Z.C.O.†,‡; McNab, Alan A., D.Med.Sc., F.R.A.N.Z.C.O.†,§,‖

Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery: May/June 2019 - Volume 35 - Issue 3 - p 256–261
doi: 10.1097/IOP.0000000000001223
Original Investigations

Purpose: The authors present the largest series of patients to date of spontaneous hemorrhage in relation to extraocular muscles (EOMs).

Methods: Observational retrospective case series. Institutional review board approval was obtained.

Results: Eighteen patients with a mean age of 71 years presented with 20 episodes of spontaneous orbital hemorrhage closely related to an EOM. Most patients woke with unilateral proptosis, pain, and diplopia. Vision was impaired in 25%. Imaging identified a characteristic well-circumscribed hematoma arising within the muscle sheath or intermuscular septum. Three episodes required surgical drainage. All patients had good recovery of vision.

Discussion: The authors describe a distinct clinical entity of idiopathic hemorrhages related to EOMs. No patient had an underlying vascular malformation or other lesion. The authors demonstrate that a proportion of these patients have vascular risk factors, namely, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and antiplatelet use. This study suggests that inferior rectus is the most commonly affected EOM and shows that it is the muscle sheath or intermuscular septum of inferior rectus that is involved, rather than the muscle belly. Most patients can be managed conservatively with good visual outcomes. However, there were 3 exceptional cases that required surgical intervention.

Conclusions: The findings that spontaneous orbital hemorrhages related to EOMs have certain predisposing factors, a characteristic radiological appearance, and a typically benign course will be helpful for clinicians in the management of this condition.

Spontaneous orbital hemorrhages can occur in relation to the extraocular muscles—they have characteristic clinical and radiological features, and most patients recover with good vision without the need for surgical intervention.

*Department of Ophthalmology, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

Orbital, Plastic and Lacrimal Unit, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

Department of Surgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

§Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

Department of Ophthalmology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

Accepted for publication July 25, 2018.

The authors have no financial or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Presented at the World Ophthalmology Congress on 16–19 June 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Helen H. Chan, M.B.B.S., Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, 32 Gisborne Street, East Melbourne 3002, Victoria, Australia. E-mail:

© 2019 by The American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Inc., All rights reserved.