Bumps On My Eyeball - What Do They Mean? Skip to main content

February 03, 2022

By: Jeffrey Martin, MD

5 Most Common Benign Eyelid Growths

Close up of african americans eyes with an eyelid growth on one eye

A growth or bump on your eyelid can mean a number of things. Some are extremely common and simple to treat, while others are more serious. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, it’s important to see a doctor to help diagnose and treat the issue. Here’s a quick guide to some of the most common benign eyelid growths.

Stye or Chalazion

A stye or chalazion is a blocked oil gland that causes that eyelid to be red, tender, and inflamed. Often, warm compresses applied directly over the swollen eyelid will help the oil gland to open, causing the swelling to subside. Sometimes, prescription eye drops, ointments, or antibiotic pills are necessary to treat the condition. If these conservative measures do not work, then a minor surgical drainage in the office may be required to relieve the problem. An in office consultation can help to diagnose the condition and make sure that it is heading in the right direction.

Epidermal Inclusion Cyst

An epidermal inclusion cyst is a common benign cystic growth that commonly occurs on the eyelids. These bumps often occur at areas on the body where the skin rubs together. Obviously, the skin of the eyelids is always touching each other as we blink. An excisional biopsy can be done in the office to remove the cyst and return the eyelids to their normal state. Sometimes, the condition will recur many years after the excision or on another area. In that case, further surgery may be necessary to remove extra skin that may be contributing to the problem.

Seborrheic Keratosis

A seborrheic keratosis is a benign age-related growth that can be seen on the skin of the eyelids, face, and rest of the body. These classically have a “stuck-on” appearance and seem like you can just scratch them off. An oculoplastic surgeon can surgically remove the growth while paying attention to make sure that it heals with an ideal cosmetic result.

Skin tag

Skin tags are often seen around the eyes. These can sometimes grow to be quite large and inflamed, thereby obstructing the vision. Like epidermal inclusion cysts, skin tags commonly occur on areas of the body where the skin rubs together. Skin tags can be seen on the eyelids, in the axilla (armpit), or around the bra or underwear line. A minor surgical procedure can be done in the office remove any growing skin tags. Often, excision of these enlarging lesions is covered by most commercial insurance plans.

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratoses are benign growths of the eyelids that are related to sun damage. These lesions need to be watched closely because they carry a small risk of conversion to a skin cancer such as a squamous or basal cell carcinoma. If they return after biopsy, referral to a specially trained dermatologist known as a Mohs surgeon may be necessary to completely remove the lesion.

While skin cancers around the eyes are common, so are benign growths. Surgery can be scary, even if it’s minor, but it’s sometimes required to make sure that our eyelids function the right way and look their best. Our team of board certified ophthalmologists and/or oculoplastic surgeons can help to correctly diagnose the condition to make sure that it is treated correctly. Schedule an appointment in one of our convenient, in-office cosmetic suites