Primary tumors of the optic nerve (optic nerve sheath meningiomas and optic nerve astrocytomas) are important causes of visual morbidity. They may elude clinical detection and have the potential to be lethal. Their treatment remains controversial but often includes radiation. The optic nerve may be involved secondarily by peripheral nerve tumors in the orbit or by metastatic and infiltrative neoplasms. Optic neuropathy may also develop as a result of treatment of these tumors. Recent contributions to the literature concerning the diagnosis and management of neural orbital tumors are reviewed. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Inc.
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