Swollen eyelid or eyelid cyst

It's quite common for the upper or lower eyelid to become swollen because of a meibomian cyst (also called a chalazion). This occurs when the glands in the eyelid become blocked.

Thesecysts vary in size, frombarely visible to the size ofa grape. They usually take weeks to develop. They're notusually painful, but can become red and painful if infected.

The cysts can come and go by themselves, althoughthey may takea few months to get better.You can help them heal by holding a clean flannel warmed in hot water to the closed eye for five minutes, and repeating this three to four times a day forupto fourweeks.

Speak to your GP if you have a cyst that doesn't clear up after a month. They can refer you to have it drained through a small incision (cut). This is a simple procedure carried out under local anaesthetic (your eye area will be numbed). It takes just a few minutes and rarely leaves a scar .

Also see your GP if the cyst becomes infected because you may need to take antibiotics to prevent a deep lid infection ( cellulitis ).

Another common cause of a swelling on the eyelid is a stye . A styeis a minor infection of the base of an eyelash that usually clears up on its own in a week or two.Holding a warm flannel to it regularly mayhelpit heal faster. Your eyelids mayalso stick together andbe difficult to open, particularly when you wake up.

These conditions can be irritating, but are rarely serious. You can reduce the irritation by keeping the eyelids clean and using artificial tears if your eyes are dry. Read about treating blepharitis and treating dry eyes .

Contact dermatitis is another possible cause of itchy or flaky eyelids. This isa type of eczematriggered when the skin comes into contact with something you are irritated byor allergic to, such as make-up. The condition usually clears up after you stop using the substance your skin is reacting to.

Sticky eyelidsalong with red and watering eyes can be caused by conjunctivitis , which is when an infection, allergy or irritant causes the front of the eye tobecome inflamed. Thiscan get better on its own, although your GPmay be able to prescribe medication to treat the underlying cause. Many lumps are simple cysts or styes(see above).

However, occasionally a lump can be a sign of a more serious condition such as skin cancer and may need to be removed.

See your GP if you're worried about a lump on or aroundyour eyelids.

Most skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas, which very rarely spread to other parts of the body. These often appear as a red or pink lump containing small blood vessels, although they can be pearly-white or "waxy" looking. Sometimes they may bleed.

Less commonly, the lump may be a squamous cell carcinoma, which is more serious as theres a small risk it could spread to other parts of the body. These usually look like an ulcer with a red base and a scaly and crusted surface. You may also lose eyelashes where the lump is growing.

In rare cases, the lump could be a sign of a very serious type of skin cancer called melanoma that can spread to other parts of the body and can be very dangerous. A lump is more likely to be melanoma if it's an irregular shape, dark or changing in colour, and getting a lot bigger over time.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018