• What Is Hemangioma?

    Written by: Kierstan Boyd
    Reviewed by: Stephen N Lipsky MD
    Oct. 14, 2015

    Hemangioma is a non-cancerous (benign) tumor caused by abnormal growth of blood vessels. Hemangiomas can occur anywhere on the body, but are most commonly found on the face and neck. While they can be present at birth, hemangiomas more often appear during the first six months of life.

    There are two types of hemangiomas.

    • Capillary hemangioma: a capillary hemangioma occurs in the outer layers of the skin. It is often called a “strawberry birthmark.”
    • Cavernous hemangioma: a cavernous hemangioma occurs in the deeper layers of the skin or around the eye.

    Capillary hemangiomas can occur on the eyelids, on the surface of the eye (conjunctiva) or in the eye socket (orbit). When that happens, the hemangioma may interfere with the normal development of the eye and possibly lead to vision problems, including amblyopia and glaucoma.

    Hemangiomas gradually disappear over time. Half of hemangiomas disappear by age five, and 90 percent are gone by age nine.