The Retina Reference

Cavernous Hemangioma of the Retina

Cavernous hemangioma of the retina is a nonprogressive congenital malformation consisting of grapelike vascular sacs usually found in one eye within the retina or on the optic nerve head. In the case shown in the photograph, the optic nerve head is involved. Some patients have associated lesions of the skin, brain, and other organs. The visual acuity is usually unaffected and unlike retinal capillary hemangiomas retinal cavernous hemangiomas do not leak fluid to cause retinal edema. The patient whose fundus photograph is shown was unaware of a problem. The lesion was detected on a routine eye examination. The red blood cells often layer out within the vascular sacs, a phenomenon that can be well demonstrated if a fluorescein angiogram is performed. Although usually cases are sporadic, some have been familial, and it is reasonable to examine first degree relatives to ascertain whether this is the case.