Eyelid Lumps

Styes

A stye, another word for eyelid lumps, is an infection in the edge of your eyelid. The infection is in a gland at the base of an eyelash, and is usually caused by staphylococcal bacteria. The treatment you need depends on how severe the infection is.

How to treat styes

For a mild lump with little redness and swelling, treat it with hot bathing and cleaning of the eyelid. To carry out ‘hot bathing’, bathe the stye with a compress, such as a clean flannel or cotton wool, soaked in warm boiled water. The water should not be hot enough to burn, and the bathing is usually need 4 times a day for about 10 minutes, until the stye starts to go, usually 2 days.

For moderate to severe styes that are painful and the swelling you may need antibiotics such as chloramphenicol cream x4 a day, or fucithalmic x2 from your general practitioner. Take care not to spread the infection to the other eye.

Meibomian Cysts (chalazions)

Meibomian cysts (or ‘chalazions’) have different stages. If your eyelid has a small lump in, and is red, painful, and swollen, treat like a stye as above.

Meibomian cyst is the name given to a lump in the eyelid; this lump may consist of debris remaining after an infection blocking the gland. Once the main infection has subsided, they do not grow bigger, and are then not very red or painful. Often, the lump disappears naturally in about 8-16 weeks.

Further Treatment

If the lump does not disappear naturally, it can be removed by a small operation in the eye clinic. The doctor injects a little local anaesthetic into the eyelid to make it feel numb. The cyst is then scrapped out. Sometimes the shell of the cyst is very thick, and the doctor may be able to scrape out the contents, but the shell cannot be removed. If this happens, a small lump may remain in the eyelid. Very occasionally a second operation may help. The operation may cause bruising of the eyelid. If it does, the bruising may take about a week to go. Usually a tiny cut is made on the inside of the eyelid, so there is no scar. If the lump is just under the skin, the doctor may make a tiny cut in the skin.

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