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Benign Eyelid
Lumps and Bumps

New eyelid growths, often called, "tumors," can be either inflammatory, benign, pre-malignant, or malignant.

Examples of Benign Eyelid Growths

The most common non-cancerous growths include:

Sty (Stye, Hordeolum)
A sty is an infected abscess of an eyelid oil gland.

A cyst or bump appearing on either the front, back, or edge of the upper or lower eyelid.

Inclusion cyst
An epidermal inclusion cyst is a white, painless enlargement or lump on the eyelid skin. While it has no malignant potential, it may be difficult to distinguish from basal cell carcinoma on appearance alone and can cause cosmetic deformity. If so, surgical removal with biopsy is indicated.

Sweat gland cyst
A sweat gland cyst appears as a round, shiny, transparent lump along the edge of the eyelid, often near the tear duct. Minor eyelid plastic surgery is curative.

An eyelid keratosis is a build-up of mostly keratin (a protein) that may exist in a variety of forms. Most keratoses are benign and a cosmetic flaw, but some are considered pre-malignant because they may degenerate into basal or squamous cell carcinoma. Protein flaking off the lesion may cause eyeball itching. Eyelid plastic surgery is straightforward.

Pigmented Nevus
Pigmented lesions of the eyelid are less common and should be examined by an ophthalmologist. While most are benign, a dark lesion may be a malignant melanoma or pigmented basal cell carcinoma.

Intradermal Nevus
An intradermal nevus is a flesh-colored painless growth within the lash line that may exist for many years with only slight enlargement. A nevus that changes in appearance should be removed and examined microscopically.

Other eyelid lumps and bumps may be caused by virus infections (shown above), warts, skin tags, etc. Because such lesions frequently cause eye irritation, cosmetic problems, and may be difficult to distinguish from early eyelid skin cancer, minor surgery for biopsy or removal is generally advised.

Next: Eyelid Skin Cancer

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Frank Meronk, Jr., M.D.
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