Your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) can diagnose hemangiomas based upon their appearance. Additional testing is usually not necessary.
Treatment of the hemangioma depends upon the location, size and severity of the lesion and whether it is causing vision problems. Not all hemangiomas need to be treated, although hemangiomas near the eye should be watched to make sure they do not cause vision problems.
Steroid medications for hemangioma
If a hemangioma is causing vision problems, several treatment options are available. Steroid medications are often used to treat hemangiomas. The steroids work by causing the blood vessels of the hemangioma to shrink. The steroids can be given by mouth, injected into the tumor or applied to its surface. Potential side effects of steroids (which are unusual with close monitoring) include delayed physical growth, cataracts and glaucoma.
Propranolol to treat hemangioma
Propranolol is a medication that has fewer side effects than steroids. Propranolol can be taken orally or can be applied topically if the hemangioma is very small and thin. Since propranolol can affect heart rate and blood pressure, careful monitoring at the beginning of treatment is sometimes required and may include a brief admission to the hospital.
Laser treatment for hemangioma
A laser treatment can sometimes be used on superficial hemangiomas to prevent growth, diminish their size or lighten their color. Surgery to remove hemangiomas is generally reserved for small, well-defined hemangiomas that are located under the skin surface. Most hemangiomas around the eye (orbital) require no intervention unless they grow to the point that they are pressing on the optic nerve or displacing the eye.