What are eyelid ‘lumps and bumps’ – and what causes them?
Lumps and swellings in and around the eyelid can happen for many different reasons; most are benign, though some can be related to a more serious condition, such as certain types of skin cancer. The most common eyelid lump of all is something called a chalazion. This occurs when one of the small, oil-producing glands in the eyelid becomes blocked and inflamed. After an assessment and examination, I will be able to give you a good idea of what the lump is likely to be, and we can discuss the next steps for treatment. To remove any doubt, I would arrange a biopsy; this can be done under local anaesthetic and involves removing either all or part of the lump and sending it to a pathologist for diagnosis.
Benign lumps and bumps don’t necessarily have to be removed. On the other hand, if you find that they’re causing you problems or irritation, or if you feel that they are unsightly, we can easily arrange for them to be removed as a cosmetic procedure.
How would you remove a lump or bump from my eyelid?
We usually perform the surgery under local anaesthetic, often in the treatment room at the clinic. After an injection of local anaesthetic, we carefully remove the lump with a small blade or very fine scissors. We will then send the removed material to the pathologist if necessary. The area on the eyelid where the lump has been removed doesn’t usually need any sutures, and will generally heal well on its own. We will often give you a protective pad to cover your eye until the next day. After that you can remove the pad. We will also supply you with some antibiotic ointment, which you’ll need to apply to the wound for one to two weeks. Once we have received the results of the biopsy, I can arrange a follow-up by telephone, letter, or in person at the clinic, depending on your preference.
What are the risks of removing an eyelid lump or bump?
As with any form of surgery, there are potential risks involved in lump and bump removal – although serious complications are very rare. The risks include:
- infection: this is very rare around the eyelids
- bruising and swelling: this is very common after eyelid surgery but usually settles after a week
- scarring: the eyelids heal very well and often without any noticeable scar
- recurrence of the lump: if the whole of the lump or bump is successfully removed, the chance of it recurring is very low but sometimes they can come back and further surgery may be required.
- further surgery: this is rare, since most lesions are fully removed during the first operation. Depending on the results of the biopsy, however, it’s possible that you may need further surgery – for example, if the biopsy confirmed that the lump was a skin cancer, in which case a wider excision margin might be required
- watery eye: sometimes lumps can form close to the tear ducts, in the inner corner of the eye, which can potentially cause the tear ducts to be damaged when the lump is removed. While tear duct damage of this sort can be repaired, it can occasionally lead to a watery eye.
For more information on chalazion please visit the BOPSS website.