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What are Orbital Varices?

Posted on December 06, 2022

Orbital varices are a type of varicose vein that develops when one or more of the blood vessels in your eye orbit become dilated. Usually, the problem affects one half of your face; if they form in your eyelids, they may be visible to others. These varicose veins can cause several complications, including bleeding and clotting.

What causes orbital varices? close up of eye with orbital varices

There are many reasons why your body develops varicose veins; when they form in your eyes, additional factors like tumor compression, arterial aneurysms, infections, trauma or vein obstruction can contribute.

Signs and Symptoms

One of the first signs of orbital varices are protrusions from the eyeball. It will not pulsate, and it may appear intermittently. In fact, since orbital veins don’t have valves, you may even be able to reverse the protrusion, at least temporarily.

Still, the protrusion will reappear with aggravation or an increase in venous pressure. So, something as simple as a forceful cough can cause that protrusion to return.


A clinical exam is the best way to diagnose this condition, although imaging can sometimes help the process. Because protrusions may not appear without force, patients should be asked to perform valsalva maneuvers during the examination. (That’s when you attempt to exhale while closing your nostrils and mouth, or your glottis. This increases pressure in the middle ear and the chest, as when bracing to lift heavy objects, and is used as a means of equalizing pressure in the ears.)

After your diagnosis, your doctor may order additional tests including a visual field examination, tracking the movement of your eye, and imaging your eye orbit to see how far any lesions extend within your visionary organ.

Treating Orbital Varices

In order to treat the varicose veins in your eye’s orbit, you may need a surgical procedure. Luckily, research reveals that patients can choose anendovascular procedure, treating their condition effectively with less invasive interventions.


Are you dealing with varicose veins in and around your eye, and want to find relief without major surgery? Contact our team of Houston and Dallas area endovascular specialists and request a consultationrequest a consultationrequest a consultation for orbital varices.

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