Lump on Eyelid: Is it a Tumor or Something Else?

If a lump suddenly appears on your eyelid, you may immediately start thinking the worst. Slow down! Even though an eyelid lump can be a sign of cancer, there are many other reasons why that bump might be there. In this post, we’ll help you identify some common causes of eyelid lumps based on the appearance and location of the lump.

Is your eyelid lump…

Small, red, painful, and located near the eyelash line or just under the eyelid?

If so, it’s probably a stye. Styes can also look like a pimple, and they’re usually very tender to touch. Your eye may tear up or leak, and the entire eyelid can even swell up! You’ll probably be sensitive to light in that eye as well.

Styes are very common. They’re most often caused by infected, blocked oil glands. Applying a warm compress to the affected area is usually enough to break up the blockage, but sometimes styes do require medical treatment. However, most go away on their own in a few days.

Like a stye, but not painful and a little further back on the eyelid?

Sounds like a chalazion. Like styes, chalazions are also caused by blocked oil glands, specifically the meibomian glands in the upper or lower eyelids. They don’t usually cause any problems unless they get too big and start pushing on the actual eyeball, impairing the patient’s vision. Chalazions are more common in people with certain infectious or skin conditions, but they usually go away on their own without medical intervention. Just like styes, warm compresses are a satisfactory home treatment for a chalazion.

Yellow or orange, bumpy, has defined borders, possibly in clusters, and near the inner corner of the eyelid?

When fat builds up under the surface of the skin of the eyelid, a xanthelasma palpebra can form. These almost always indicate elevated cholesterol levels, so you should see your doctor as soon as possible if you notice this kind of lump. Dietary changes are usually enough to resolve xanthelasma palpebrarum, but medication may also be required.

Just a general redness, swelling, and tenderness of the entire eyelid and eyelash area, possibly accompanied by styes?

If this sounds like your situation, blepharitis may be the culprit. Along with redness, swelling, and tenderness, blepharitis can cause light sensitivity, an oily or crusty feeling on the eyelids, tearing, and even a burning sensation. Blepharitis is most commonly caused by allergies to cosmetic products, infections, oil gland dysfunction, and even parasites. People with certain skin conditions, such as dandruff, are more susceptible to blepharitis than others. Treating the underlying cause and keeping the eyelids clean are the best treatments for this condition.

None of the above

If your eyelid lump does not fit any of the descriptions above, then it’s time to take a closer look at what is going on. 

First, is the lump:

  • growing rapidly
  • bleeding
  • ulcerating, or 
  • hasn’t healed after a few weeks? 

If the answer to any of these is yes, you need to call and schedule an urgent appointment with your doctor. Be sure to tell them about your symptoms so they know you need an appointment sooner rather than later.

Eyelid tumors come in many shapes, colors, and sizes, although over half of them pop up on the lower eyelid. They can be flat or raised, smooth or scaly, shiny or matte. They can be red, brown, flesh-colored, or even black. Because the kind of lump you’ll see depends on the type of cancer causing it, it’s impossible to say exactly what an eyelid tumor will look like.

If you have an unidentified eyelid lump or stye that just won’t heal and:

  • are losing your eyelashes
  • notice your eyelid thickening, or 
  • have chronic eyelid infections

 … then it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor to get the eyelid lump examined.

The C Word

If your doctor does diagnose your eyelid lump as cancer, don’t panic! Most eyelid tumors are caused by one of two types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinomas or squamous cell carcinomas. Both of these types of cancer, when identified early, are very treatable!

Eyelid Surgery in Tampa Bay

If your eyelid lump requires surgical intervention, you’ll want to make sure that the surgeon you choose is qualified, reputable, and up to date on all of the latest surgical techniques. Named one of Tampa Bay’s “Best Doctors” by Tampa Bay Metro for three consecutive years, Dr. Justin J. Older and his team have the knowledge and experience you want, plus the compassion you deserve! Call us at (813) 971-3846 to schedule your eyelid surgery consultation today.

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Phone: (813) 971-3846

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5379 Primrose Lake Cir
Tampa, FL 33647
(Inside the office of The Bowman Institute for Dermatologic Surgery)
Phone: (813) 971-3846

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