The objective of this article is to document a unique case of a primary hemangioma and review epibulbar vascular tumors of the conjunctiva and episclera.
A case report with detailed histopathologic, histochemical, and immunohistochemical studies coupled with a comprehensive review of the relevant literature with a tabulation of previously reported epibulbar vascular lesions was performed.
A vascular tumor developed in a 46-year-old woman over 2–3 months that histopathologically was located in the superficial third of the normally avascular sclera and was composed of capillary caliber vessels. CD31 and CD34 positivity established the vascular nature of the lesion. Despite its adult onset, the tumor was also glut-1 positive, a vascular characteristic of childhood capillary hemangiomas that will ultimately involute. Smooth muscle actin was positive in the endothelial cells and associated pericytes. An ectatic muscular vessel identified in the midst of the lesion was interpreted as an anomalous intrascleral branch of an epibulbar anterior ciliary artery, where it perforated the sclera in the vicinity of the insertion of an extraocular rectus muscle. It was deduced to be the source of the capillary proliferation. A literature review failed to identify any previously reported epibulbar vascular tumor that originated primarily in the sclera or secondarily infiltrated this ocular tunic.
An adult primary capillary intrascleral neoplasm is described as the rarest of all epibulbar vascular tumors and in keeping with the exceptional status of the ocular endothelium was glut-1 positive. This lesion must be distinguished from an array of other common and esoteric epibulbar vascular conditions.