1211 W La Palma Ave. Suite 201 Anaheim, CA 92801
714.533.9920

Eyelid Lesions: Types, Symptoms, and treatment

Your eyelid skin is the thinnest and the most exposed area of your entire skin. In addition to that, it contains almost all the skin structures which explain why your eyelid is prone to malignant, benign, or cancerous lesions.

An eyelid lesion consists of damaged or injured cells exhibiting a notable difference in appearance from surrounding tissue. According to the eye experts, all eyelid lesions arise from conditions affecting the different eyelids tissues including skin, muscles, adipose tissue, blood and lymphatic vessels, eyelashes, among others.

Eyelid lesions are quite commonplace and most cases clear up with minimal medical intervention which involves topical application of antibiotic ointment on the lesion. Such lesions often have pathogenic and metabolic causes and are benign. However, some conditions causing lesions on the eyelids warrant in-depth and specialized medical attention because they arise from cancerous or malignant tumors.

According to eye doctors, it is important to undergo appropriate treatment for either type of lesions since they are cosmetically disturbing. This article looks at benign and malignant causes of eyelid lesions, clinical diagnosis of these conditions, potential risk factors, viable modes of prevention, and treatment options.

What are the primary symptoms of eyelid lesions?

Here are some of the visible cues of eyelid lesions include that you should watch out for. These include but not limited to:

  • Redness or other abnormal coloration on an area of the upper/lower eyelid
  • Distinct swelling, growth, lumps, pimples, or blisters on the eyelids
  • An open wound or ulcer with/without pus, watery discharge, or hardened scar tissue

While these indicators of eyelid lesions are typically visible on the upper surface of the eyelid, they can manifest underneath it. These necessitate proper identification and treatment by a health professional.

Specific Causes and Symptoms of Benign Eyelid Lesions

Benign eyelid lesions are typically due to pathogenic or physiological factors affecting eyelid tissue. These factors can be bacterial and viral infections or metabolic issues. They include the following conditions:

  • Chalazion

The Meibomian glands, located beneath the upper and lower eyelids, secrete an oily substance that keeps the eyeball moist. The blockage of Meibomian ducts by bacteria or physical debris leads to the progressive accumulation of the glands’ secretion. The outcome is a characteristic painless and slow-growing lump on the upper or lower eyelid.

Prevention and Treatment

Regular eyelid hygiene is effective at preventing Chalazion. Treatment options for this eyelid lesion include topical and oral antibiotic medication, with persistent Chalazion requiring surgical excision of the lump.

  • Xanthelasma

An eyelid lesion resulting from Xanthelasma occurs due to the accumulation of lipid-filled macrophages and immune system cells within the eyelid’s dermal tissue. The heightened presence of these macrophages within eyelid tissue is primarily due to a bacterial or viral infection. The outcome is a distinct yellow-colored region on the upper/lower eyelid.

Prevention and Treatment

Xanthelasma does not have an effective method of prevention. Treatment options for this condition include topical application of trichloroacetic acid, CO2 laser treatment, and the lesion’s surgical excision.

  • Epidermoid Cyst

An epidermoid cyst occurs due to blockage of eyelashes follicles as a result of physical trauma. The occlusion precedes the development of a benign growth within the hair follicle, which then manifests as a characteristic smooth white slow-growing lesion on the eyelids’ margin.

Prevention and Treatment

There is no practical method of preventing an epidermoid cyst. The primary treatment option for this condition involves the surgical removal of the benign cyst.

  • Apocrine Hidrocystoma

This eyelid lesion occurs due to blockage to the Moll glands found at the base of the eyelashes. This blockage causes the accumulation of sweat secretions within the gland, resulting in the characteristic translucent smooth round lesion on the upper/lower eyelids’ margin.

Prevention and Treatment

Regular eye hygiene is an effective method of preventing apocrine hidrocystoma. The primary treatment method of this condition involves the surgical incision of the eyelid lesion.

  • Nevus

Nevus refers to a congenital abnormality that causes a tumor’s development from undifferentiated melanocytes, melanin-producing cells on the eyelids. This cancer manifests as a characteristic small light-colored bump on the upper/lower eyelids.

Prevention and Treatment

There is no effective method of preventing Nevus eyelid lesions. Treatment options for the condition involve surgical removal of the tumor and wedge-resection of the affected eyelid.

Other common benign eyelid lesion-causing conditions include Seborrheic Keratosis, Syrinngoma, Verruca Vulgaris, Molluscum Contagiosum, and Acrochordon. These conditions typically feature similar occurrence and treatment options to the five described above.

Specific Causes and Symptoms of Malignant Eyelid Lesions

The health risks surrounding malignant eyelid lesions include their increased possibility of reemergence and the uncanny ability to spread to induce cancerous growths in other parts of the body. Common malignant eyelid lesions in clinical practice include, and are not limited to:

  • Actinic Keratosis

This condition occurs due to sun-induced skin damage affecting the upper or lower eyelids. Actinic keratosis is characterized by a pinkish to a reddish hardened region on the upper or lower eyelid surface. The area around the hardened plaque can also exhibit bleeding in severe cases of the condition.

Prevention and Treatment

Eyelid lesions due to actinic keratosis are preventable via regular use of sunblock to protect the skin from UV radiation damage. Treatment options for this condition include micrographic surgical incision of the lesion coupled with topical application of chemotherapeutic medication. Cryotherapy is also effective at halting the progress of actinic keratosis.

  • Keratoacanthoma

This condition result from cancerous cells invading the upper/lower eyelids due to sun-induced skin damage. Keratoacanthoma is characterized by a rapidly growing lesion on the eyelids that develops a hard keratin-filled crater-like center.

Prevention and Treatment

As with actinic keratosis, the primary method of preventing keratoacanthoma revolves consistent use of topical anti-UV cream. Treatment options for this condition include surgical excision of the cancerous lesion, coupled with a strict regimen of topical chemotherapeutic creams.

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma

This condition, which makes up to 95% of diagnosed malignant eyelid lesions, occurs due to prolonged exposure to UV radiation, particularly in early adolescence. Basal cell carcinoma manifests in later life past fifty years and is common among persons with compromised immunity. This condition’s most notable characteristic takes the form of hard nodules on the eyelids that often feature persistent itching and even bleeding.

Prevention and Treatment

As with the other malignant skin lesions described above, basal cell carcinoma is preventable through consistent use of topical anti-UV cream, particularly in one’s youthful years. The main treatment option for basal cell carcinoma involves the surgical excision of the lesion.
Other common malignant eyelid lesions include Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Sebaceous Cell Carcinoma.

Benign eyelid lesions do not require treatment in most cases. However, if the lesion is affecting your vision or causing a lot of discomforts, it can be surgically removed. On the other hand, malignant lesions require special treatment since they can permanently damage your eyesight.

It is highly recommended that you find a certified ophthalmologist with an outstanding reputation and an eye clinic with the state of the art technology for such treatment. The combination of such a world-class eye clinic with a qualified eye surgeon will ensure that you get smooth eyelid lesion removal surgery and smooth recovery. The doctor will also follow up on your progress until you fully recover.