Clinical, pathological, and immunological analysis of 20 patients with ocular adnexal lymphoid disease has demonstrated several parameters which are useful for distinguishing malignant from benign lesions. Patients in the fourth or fifth decade of life presenting with an acute history of pain, oedema, epiphora, double vision, and ptosis, with a mass localised in the lacrimal gland area, are more likely to have a pseudolymphoma or a chronic inflammatory lesion than a true non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). It is not possible to obtain a definite diagnosis without surgical intervention, because only three out of nine patients with orbital NHL had evidence of a monoclonal B cell population in peripheral blood on admission to the Orbital Centre. Furthermore it was confirmed that the identification of the various orbital lymphoid infiltrates becomes more distinct when immunological techniques are added to the clinical and histopathological methods of investigation. Multidisciplinary cooperation leads to further improvement of diagnosis and treatment of ocular adnexal lymphoproliferative disease.
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