Lumps and Bumps on the Eyelid

(Stye, hordeolum, chalazion, sebaceous cyst, xanthelasma, and papillomas)












A stye is a type of eyelid lump that occurs on the margin of the eyelid. A stye is caused by an infected eyelash follicle and often appears as a red and tender lump. When a stye occurs inside or underneath the eyelid it is called an external hordeolum.


Other symptoms include;

  • eyelashes, usually with a small pus spot in the center;

  • A feeling as if something is in your eye;

  • Sensitivity to light;

  • Crusting along the eyelid margin;

  • Tearing and watering











A chalazion forms when an oil-producing gland in the eyelid called the Meibomian gland becomes enlarged and the gland opening becomes clogged with abnormal oil. Chalazia tend to develop farther back from the edge of the eyelid (closer to the eyeball) than styes and are often larger and non-tender. Some chalazia will have no symptoms and will go away without any treatment. Sometimes, however, a chalazion may become red, swollen, and cause blurred vision by distorting the shape of the eye, especially in the upper eyelid. Occasionally, a chalazion can become infected and cause the entire eyelid to swell suddenly (internal hordeolum).


Occasionally a hordeolum can cause a spreading infection in the eyelid skin (cellulitis) and rarely can cause infection in the eye socket (orbital cellulitis). This can be very dangerous and must be treated urgently with antibiotics, usually with a drip in the hospital.


Risk factors for developing a stye or chalazion are:

  • Have had chalazia or styes previously;

  • Have skin conditions such as Acne Rosacea or Seborrhoeic Dermatitis;

  • Have other systemic medical conditions, such as Diabetes mellitus.

  • Have a local eyelid condition such as Blepharitis

  • Consistently fail to remove eye makeup completely;

  • Use old or contaminated cosmetics.

Treatment includes:

Warm Compresses: with a warm washcloth or meibomian bags

Antibiotic ointment: this is prescribed by your eye doctor to treat bacterial infections

Steroid injections: sometimes performed by your eye doctor to reduce swelling around a chalazion

Surgical Removal: for recurrent bumps that do not go away after other treatments












Sebaceous Cysts: These cysts differ from other eye cysts as they occur anywhere on the body. They are derived from sebaceous glands in the skin and are filled with sebaceous material (sebum). They are generally found in locations with many hair follicles, particularly the brow area and eye skin folds around the eye. They can become large and painful if they become infected and can sometimes obstruct vision. All cysts should be removed by excision to ensure the entire lining of the cyst is taken in order to avoid recurrence.








Cysts of Moll: These types of cysts form from blockage of the tine sweat glands around the eyelid and margin of the lid near the eyelashes. They can form one or more watery blisters that are filled with clear fluid. These cysts need to be completely excised to avoid recurrence. Local drainage with a needle is ineffective as the cyst will recur.










Xanthelasma is superficial yellowish deposits commonly seen on the inner corner of the upper and lower lids. They are a deposit of fatty tissue in the upper layer of the skin. It can be associated with high blood cholesterol levels in the blood that may require treatment. Xanthelasma can be treated by surgical excision or laser, but approximately 30% of them will recur.












Papillomas are the most common lesion of the eyelid. These growths occur in middle-aged and elderly individuals and may be solitary or multiple. They are not harmful and typically do not affect vision. They usually affect appearance only. Treatment is by surgical excision.




Eyelid Skin Cancer: They are multiple types of cancer that can form on the eyelids and around the eye. If you have a skin growth that does not appear like any of these common non-harmful growths then speak with your doctor. These types of growths need to be treated by an eye surgeon specialized in Oculoplastic surgery, as wide excision and reconstruction surgery may be required. We do not treat eyelid cancers at Moor Eye Care.