Eyelid Bump
A red, painful bump or inflamed area on the eyelid is called a stye or hordeolum. It's typically caused by bacterial infection of the sebaceous...

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What Are Eyelid Bumps?

Eyelid bumps appear as painful, red lumps at the edge of the eyelid, typically where the lash meets the lid. Most bumps are caused by bacteria or a blockage in the oil glands of the eyelid. Eyelid bumps are often harmless and don’t always require medical treatment. They often go away on their own or with basic home care. However, if eyelid bumps become increasingly painful, do not respond to home treatments, or begin to interfere with your vision, you may want to talk to your doctor about ways to manage your symptoms. There are three types of common eyelid bumps. The type and underlying cause of your eyelid bumps will determine the best course of treatment.

Recognizing Eyelid Bumps

Styes

Styes are the most common type of eyelid bump. Styes occur when bacteria get into the oil glands in the eyelids. They’re round, red bumps that appear close to your eyelashes, and they can make your eyelid feel sore. Styes can also cause you to be sensitive to light and make your eye watery or feel scratchy. It typically takes a few days for styes to form, and you may have more than one at a time.

Chalazions

Cysts, or chalazia, are small tissue pockets that contain fluid. They form when the oil-producing glands in the eyelids become blocked. These usually grow higher up on your eyelid than styes and are painless in most cases. They can interfere with your vision depending on where they grow and how big they get.

Xanthelasma

Xanthelasma are harmless yellow bumps that occur when certain fats build up under the skin. These bumps tend to appear in older adults and in some cases are associated with high cholesterol levels.

What Symptoms Are Associated With Eyelid Bumps?

Most eyelid bumps appear as tender, red lumps, and typically occur along the edge of the eyelid. Other symptoms include:

  • red, watery eyes
  • a gritty, scratchy sensation in the eye
  • sensitivity to light

What Are the Underlying Causes?

Styes occur when bacteria enter your oil glands and make them inflamed. The most common type of bacteria associated with styes is staphlyococcus. (NHS)

Your risk of having styes increases if you have a condition called blepharitis, which causes inflammation of the eyelash follicles.

A cyst, or chalazion, can form when the oil glands in your eyelids are blocked. Styes that don’t drain can turn into chalazia.

Xanthelasma occur when you have a collection of fats just below the surface of the skin. They can be a sign of an underlying condition that causes high cholesterol, such as diabetes, but they can also form without being linked to any medical conditions.

When to See Your Doctor

Although most eyelid bumps are mild or harmless, some can indicate a more serious condition. You should see your doctor if you’re having trouble seeing, if your eyes are extremely watery, or if your eyes hurt even in low lighting. You’ll also need to be checked if your eyelid bump bleeds, gets worse, grows very big, or is very painful. You should also call your doctor if your eyelid is scaly, crusty, or red, or if you have any blisters on it, since these signs can indicate an infection.

Treating Eyelid Bumps

Your doctor can diagnose a stye or chalazion by looking at it. No other tests are necessary.

Home Care

Don’t try to squeeze or pop a stye or chalazion. This can increase your risk for infection and can also spread bacteria to your other eye. You can treat a stye at home by holding a warm compress on it for 10 minutes up to four times per day. Heat and compression can help drain the stye, loosen blockages in the oil gland, and also aid in healing.

Xanthelasma don’t require any type of home care.

Medical Care

If you have a large stye, your doctor might need to puncture it in order to drain the infected fluid. If you keep getting styes or have ones that won’t go away, your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic cream to put on your eyelid.

Surgery may be an option if you have a large chalazion that doesn’t go away on its own. Your doctor might give you antibiotic eye drops to use before and after surgery to treat or prevent infection. Anti-inflammatory steroid injections can be used to relieve swelling.

You can have a xanthelasma surgically removed if its appearance bothers you, otherwise no treatment is necessary.

What Is the Outlook?

Styes normally heal on their own after draining, which usually takes a few days. If the stye doesn’t go away within one to two weeks, call your doctor. You might also get more styes after the initial one heals.

About 25 percent of chalazia clear up on their own without any treatment, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. (AAO) A chalazion usually disappears in about a month when treated at home, but you should let your doctor know if it keeps getting bigger.

Xanthelasma are harmless, but you should talk to your doctor about being tested for underlying conditions that could be causing them.

Preventing Eyelid Bumps

Practicing good hygiene can help reduce your risk of getting a stye. Prevent the spread of bacteria with regular hand washing and don’t touch your eyes unless your hands have been washed with hot, soapy water.

You can help prevent chalazia by rinsing your eyelids once a day if you have blepharitis. You should also put a warm compress on your eyelid as soon as it feels irritated.

Controlling your cholesterol levels by eating healthy and losing excess weight might help prevent xanthelasma that are caused by high cholesterol levels.

Written by: Amanda Delgado
Edited by:
Medically Reviewed by: George Krucik, MD
Published: Jul 17, 2012
Published By: Healthline Networks, Inc.
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