What is this bump near my baby’s eye?
A dermoid is an overgrowth of normal, non-cancerous tissue that forms in an abnormal location. They can occur all over the body and are usually composed of skin, hair and/or fat. There are two different types that can form around the eye. An orbital dermoid is a smooth, egg-shaped mass that forms along the bony suture lines of the orbit. The most common location is under the outer portion of the eyebrow. The second type of dermoid is called an epidermoid which forms on the surface of the eye itself and is usually yellow in color.
Orbital Dermoid Cysts
Dermoid cysts are one of the most common eye growths we see in children, accounting for about 45% of all orbital tumors. They form early in the womb when skin cells become trapped as a baby’s bones join together. This particular type of cyst typically forms under the eyebrow, where two large skull plates meet, but can also appear on the inside of the eye socket near the nose.
Orbital dermoid cysts are benign and are not associated with any significant diseases or other ailments but there is a risk of children bumping and bursting these sensitive cysts. If this happens, it can become inflamed and more difficult to treat so many pediatric eye doctors recommend surgical removal early on. By removing the cyst in its entirety in a controlled environment, we can prevent this inflammatory reaction from occurring. The dermoids do not grow back and scarring is usually minimal.
Epibulbar Dermoid Cysts
Epibulbar dermoid cysts form on the surface of the eye itself, rather than the surrounding area. When these cysts form where the cornea meets the white part of the eye they’re called dermolipomas and are usually yellowish in color. They can be associated with large, irregular facial birthmarks (Linear Sebaceous Nevus Syndrome) and incomplete development of the bones of the face (Goldenhar Syndrome).
These cysts can also be removed surgically but are often left to be observed. They can cause significant amounts of astigmatism, even after surgical removal and tend to increase the risk of amblyopia or a lazy eye, from the associated astigmatism.
When to See a Doctor
If you notice anything new or abnormal about your child’s eyes it’s important to bring them in for an exam as soon as possible. At SightMD, we make it easy to get all the answers with a diverse team of pediatric ophthalmologists and specialized eyelid surgeons. Our doctors will work with you to discuss treatment options and help put your mind at ease.