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Vasoproliferative tumours of the retina
  1. Heinrich Heimanna,
  2. Norbert Bornfeldb,
  3. Oliver Vijb,
  4. Sarah E Couplandc,
  5. Nikolaos E Bechrakisa,
  6. Ulrich Kellnera,
  7. Michael H Foerstera
  1. aDepartment of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Benjamin Franklin, Free University, Berlin, Germany, bDepartment of Ophthalmology, University Hospital, Essen, Germany, cDepartment of Pathology, University Hospital Benjamin Franklin, Free University, Berlin, Germany
  1. Dr Heinrich Heimann, Augenklinik, University Hospital Benjamin Franklin, Hindenburgdamm 30, D-12200 Berlin, Germanyheimann{at}


BACKGROUND Vasoproliferative tumours of the retina (VPTR) are benign tumours of unknown origin, occurring mostly in otherwise healthy patients. VPTR may be associated with other chorioretinal diseases, such as uveitis. The tumours, which histologically represent reactive gliovascular proliferations, are characterised by a pink to yellow appearance on funduscopy and are accompanied by exudative and haemorrhagic changes of the retina.

METHODS 22 cases of VPTR in 21 patients were examined with a follow up period between 1 month and 6 years. Ophthalmological changes associated with VPTR were intraretinal and subretinal exudations (n=18), exudative detachments of the surrounding sensory retina (n=13), intraretinal and subretinal haemorrhages (n=10), exudative changes within the macula (n=10), hyperpigmentation of the retinal pigment epithelium at the border of the exudative retinal changes (n=9), and vitreous haemorrhages (n=4). Tumour biopsy was performed in two cases. Treatment consisted of plaque radiotherapy (n=14), plaque radiotherapy and cryotherapy (two), cryotherapy only (two), observation (three), and enucleation in one case of a blind and painful eye.

RESULTS Regression of the tumour and the associated exudative changes could be observed in all treated cases. Visual acuity at last follow up improved two lines or more in two cases, remained within two lines of the initial visual acuity in 15 cases, and worsened in the remaining five. Histopathological examination of the biopsy specimens and the tumour of the enucleated eye showed massive capillary proliferation with perivascular spindle-shaped glial cells of retinal origin.

CONCLUSION The correct diagnosis of VPTR is of importance as these lesions may lead to visual loss. Further, VPTR must be differentiated from angiomas associated with von Hippel-Lindau disease as well as from ocular and systemic malignancies. Regression of tumour thickness and associated retinal changes can be achieved with brachytherapy or cryotherapy.

  • retina
  • vasoproliferative tumours

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