7777 Forest Lane
Suite C-710
Dallas, Texas 75230
Phone 972.566.2020
Fax 972.566.5454
Eye Plastic Surgery Associates


This discussion of eyelid tumors includes growths present on the skin, the edge, or the inside surface of the eyelid. A chalazion, or stye, which is a lump within the eyelid, is covered in a section above.

Skin cancer of the eyelid appears usually as a slowly enlarging lump usually on the lower eyelid. The most common type is "basal cell" cancer, which usually is a firm, pearly nodule which is non-tender. If present at the edge of the eyelid, there may be a loss of eyelashes. Another type of skin cancer of the eyelid resembles a chronic infection of the lid, or blepharitis, with redness of the lid. Melanoma can involve the outside or inside of the eyelid, and usually is a changing, darkly pigmented growth. Sometimes melanomas have no pigment.

Treatment of suspicious growths is by excisional biopsy with examination in the laboratory to determine if the growth is cancerous, and if it has been removed completely.

  • Non-cancerous growths of the eyelid include:
    • Skin tags or horns, which are fleshy growths of skin on a stalk. These can be removed if necessary.
    • Seborrheic keratoses, which are "stuck-on appearing" growths on the skin. These are more of a cosmetic problem and rarely have to be removed.
    • Inclusion cysts, which are round, bubble-like swellings on the eyelid which may come and go. If simply drained, they usually recur.
    • Viral papilloma, or wart-like growths, are fleshy growths usually on the edge of the eyelid. These can be removed if necessary.
    • Granulomas are inflammatory growths on the inside or outside of the eyelid, and can occur after a stye, or chalazion.
  • Molluscum contagiousum is a small viral growth of the eyelid or skin which can spread. Usually it is a tiny, round, white lump on the lid. Viral particles shed from this can irritate the eye and lead to itching and redness. Treatment is by excision.
  • Calcifications, or "concretions" can occur on the inside of the eyelids. If the eyelid is flipped over, a small, very white particle or cluster of particles may be seen on the inside surface. Usually these are covered over by a transparent membrane that lines the inside of the eyelid. Rarely do they erode and scratch the eye, and rarely do they ever have to be removed.
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