What are benign lid lumps?

Benign means harmless or non-cancerous. There are many types of lumps that grow in the eyelids. They may cause concern because they are unsightly, irritating or simply because you are not sure what they are.

What types of lid lumps are there?
  • Meibomian cyst (chalazion)
  • Papilloma / wart / molluscum contagiosum. These are due to virus infections in the skin.
  • Mole (naevus). These may be present from childhood, but may enlarge and/or darken later on.
  • Cysts of Zeis. These contain fat and look yellowish.
  • Cysts of Moll. These contain a clear fluid and are sweat gland cysts. Xanthelasma. Fatty deposits in the skin.
  • Granuloma. This is due to faulty healing following a chalazion, infection or foreign body.
  • Pilomatrixoma. A bluish red nodule arising from a skin hair.
Does a benign lid lump need removing?

Often it is possible to decide what your lump is simply by looking at it. Most benign lid lumps don’t need removing if you don’t wish to have any surgery.

Sometimes an operation to remove the lump may be advised if the only way to decide what the lump is, is to remove it and send it to the pathology laboratory where special tests and microscopic examinations can be done.

What is the risk of minor surgery?

Short-term discomfort is a common but minor risk following the procedure. Please ensure that you have a supply of painkillers for this.

Bleeding may occur from the wound site. If this happens, apply gentle pressure to the site. If the bleeding persists call us immediately.

Infection of the wound is a rare complication after surgery. However, if you think this has occurred, call us immediately.

What happens during the treatment?

You will be asked to lie down on a couch and anaesthetic drops will be put in your eyes. The eyelids are cleaned with an antiseptic solution containing iodine. Local anaesthetic is injected to the area to “freeze it” so you won’t feel anything. The lump is then removed, bleeding stopped with cautery or small stitches and antibiotic ointment applied.

After the procedure

Depending on the specific procedure performed, your eye may feel numb initially, but normal sensation will return after a short while.

You may have a dressing covering the eye or wound, protecting the stitches.

You will be taken to a comfortable chair to rest and offered a hot drink. The nurse will give you any drops or ointment you need to use at home and written instructions. You should not drive home. You should rest quietly at home but may return to normal activities after a few hours.

if you feel slight discomfort after the treatment, we will prescribe some painkillers on request.

Your GP will be told that the surgery has taken place and will be sent the results of any tests. Occasionally the tests reveal that further surgery is needed and if so, a further appointment to discuss this with you will be arranged by phone or letter.

At home

If you have a dressing over the wound, this can usually be removed after 2-4 hours by yourself when you are at home.

If you have stitches, you will be advised of their removal where necessary (in some cases, stitches are dissolvable).

General Instructions following your operation

  • Please do not rub or touch your eye. But if you have to always wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching your eye.
  • If there is oozing, wipe your eyelids with clean cotton wool or tissues dipped in cooled boiled water. Use the cotton wool or tissue only once and then throw it away.
  • Rest quietly for the remainder of the day, avoiding lifting, and bending.
  • Your face and mouth may feel numb following your anaesthetic. This is normal and will wear off gradually.
  • Keep your head raised as much as possible when lying down, by using three or more pillows. This helps to reduce swelling. You may feel some discomfort for 2-3 days after your operation. Taking paracetamol can help relieve this. If you have severe pain, please contact the hospital on the numbers given overleaf.
  • Your eyelid and cheek may also be bruised and swollen. This is normal and could last for 2-3 weeks.
  • To help reduce any swelling you can use icepacks. Apply icepacks for 15 minutes within every hour whilst awake for five days.
  • Please follow the directions carefully on using your drops/ointment, as they are very important. Keep using your drops/ointment as instructed. Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after using your drops/ointment.

You should contact us immediately on 020 3137 3237 if:

  • You have excessive pain.
  • You have a sudden loss or reduction in your vision.
  • Your eye becomes very sticky.
  • Your eyelid becomes redder, swollen, or itchy after using your drops or ointment.