Eyelid lump

Specialty of Ophthalmology

What are eyelid lumps?

Lumps on the eyelids are relatively common, and most go away by themselves in a matter of days or weeks. There are a number of different types of eyelid lumps, which are caused by different things. Examples include:

  • Stye
  • Chalazion (plural: chalazia)
  • Insect bite
  • Swelling due to injury/after an operation
  • Chickenpox/shingles
  • Mole
  • Freckle

Symptoms of eyelid lumps

Styes are small, painful lumps on the edge of the eyelid. They may be red and swollen due to infection, and are filled with yellow pus, like a pimple. They may cause your eye to water and become red, but should not impair the vision.
Chalazia are usually hard, tender lumps on the eyelid that can vary in size and location on the eyelid. The eyelid often feels heavy and the patient may experience increased tearing. Blisters or scabs, accompanied by a rash on the body is usually indicative of shingles or chickenpox.

What are the causes of eyelid lumps?

Different types of eyelid lumps have different causes:

  • Styes are caused by a bacterial infection of an oil gland in the eyelid.
  • A chalazion occurs when oil glands in the eyelid become blocked due to inflammation (blepharitis).
  • Darker patches that appear to be moles or freckles should be checked out if they change size, shape, or colour, as they can sometimes be cancerous.

Can eyelid lumps be prevented?

The risk of developing styes and chalazia can be reduced by maintaining good eyelid hygiene. This can be achieved by cleaning the edges of the eyelid daily with a warm, moistened flannel or cotton bud.

Treatments for eyelid lumps

The majority of lumps, including styes, chalazions, and insect bites, clear up by themselves within a few weeks. Warm compresses and keeping the eyelid clean can help this process.

One self-treatment recommended for styes is to soak a flannel in warm water and hold it against the eye for 5-10 minutes and repeat this process several times a day.

In cases of severe bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed by the doctor.

Large, persistent lumps may have to be drained surgically under local anaesthetic. Similarly, if the lump is identified as skin cancer, surgical treatment may be necessary.

Which type of specialist treats eyelid lumps?

Ophthalmologists diagnose and treat the majority of conditions affecting the eyes and eyelids. If the cause of the lump turns out to be cancerous or a condition that affects other parts of the body, other specialists may be involved in treating the condition.

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