There are many types of eyelid bumps, including styes, chalazion, milia, and xanthelasmas. They may look white or red in color but can vary in appearance.

Eyelashes protect the eyes from tiny objects, such as dust, that can irritate the eye. Oil glands around the eyelids help to keep the lashes healthy. If an infection or swelling affects the eyelid, a bump might develop.

This article explores eyelid bumps, symptoms, possible causes, and treatments. It also looks at additional treatments or preventions for styes and chalazion.

Different types of bumps can appear on the eyelid. These include:

The specific symptoms, causes, and treatments for each are detailed below.

Styes are infectious red bumps that can pain and discomfort when touching or palpitating the area. The eyelid bump is edema, an area where fluid gets trapped within the skin. The fluid may cause pus to collect in the middle of the bump, causing swelling.

A stye can irritate the eye, making it feel itchy. It can also cause the edges of the eyelid to become crusty, and a person’s eyes may water a lot. Sometimes, the entire eyelid may swell up. A person who has a stye may also be more sensitive to light.


Around 90–95% of styes result from exposure to the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus.


Applying a warm compress to the stye can help prevent it from worsening. Doctors can prescribe erythromycin ointment for a person to apply twice a day.

A person can usually treat a stye at home, but they may need to see a doctor if it is especially painful or bothersome. Consider seeking medical advice for a stye that:

  • does not show signs of healing within 2–3 weeks
  • is particularly painful
  • is very swollen or causing problems with eyesight

Learn how to get rid of stye here.

A chalazion is the most common type of inflammatory eyelid bump. It looks very similar to a stye. However, unlike a stye, the chalazion bump is not infectious.

A chalazion is red and creates a tender, swollen area on the eyelid. It is painful for the first few days but becomes a painless lump.

Chalazia, plural for chalazion, can be deep or superficial. Deep chalazia develop further under the skin of the eyelid, and superficial chalazia grow on the eyelid’s surface.

A chalazion can develop without presenting any direct symptoms. However, the eyelid bump may swell up or feel tender. If the lump is particularly large, it may press on the eyeball, causing blurry eyesight. A chalazion can also cause the eyes to water.


Blockage and swelling in the oil glands of the eye cause chalazia, but working out which gland depends on the level of the bump. Deep chalazia results from inflammation in the tarsal meibomian gland, and superficial chalazia results from inflammation in the Zeis gland.

A chalazion occurs due to obstruction and inflammation in the sebaceous glands in the eyelids. These glands produce an oil that helps prevent tears in the eye’s surface.


People can treat a chalazion at home. They should be aware of any changes in the condition and may wish to see a doctor if:

It is not always possible to prevent a chalazion from developing, but cleaning the eyelids regularly and applying a warm compress when symptoms appear might help.

Learn about other causes and treatments for a swollen eyelid here.

Xanthelasmas are yellowish plaques and papules that develop on the eyelids. They feel like soft lumps under the skin of the eyelid. They do not tend to cause any symptoms or complications, but people sometimes seek treatment for cosmetic reasons.


The primary triggers of xanthelasma are hyperlipidemia, thyroid dysfunction, and diabetes.

Xanthelasmas occurs when fatty deposits accumulate on the eyelids. The excess fat in this area may result from indirect causes, such as physiological states and systemic diseases, including:


There are several methods for treating xanthelasmas, but removing it to prevent it from returning will require treatment from a doctor.

A doctor can offer the following treatments:

Read more about cholesterol and xanthelasma here.

Milia are common white bumps that can grow on the eyelids. They also develop on other body areas, including the forehead, cheeks, and genitals. They are small keratin cysts.


Milia occur when a protein called keratin gets trapped underneath the skin’s surface. This can happen for various reasons, including injury and medical conditions.


Milia are harmless and do not usually require treatment as they tend to go away on their own. Typically, people with milia do not need to seek treatment unless the bumps impact vision.

Alternatively, a doctor can remove milia surgically.

Learn more about milia under the eyes here.

Home remedies for styes and chalazia include:

The first treatment to try at home is a warm compress. This treatment can help to speed up healing and reduce swelling of an eyelid bump.

To apply a warm compress, a person should:

  • make sure that their hands are clean
  • soak a clean washcloth or cotton ball in warm water
  • hold the compress to the eyelid bump for 15 minutes
  • repeat 2–4 times per day using a clean washcloth or cotton ball each time

Additionally, it can help to wash the eyelids regularly using water or diluted baby shampoo.

Sometimes, if the bump becomes infected, people may need antibiotics. These may come in the form of eye drops or ointment. If the infection spreads, a person might need to take antibiotic medication by mouth.

A person with a chalazion or stye should not touch the area too much. It is usually a good idea to avoid wearing eye makeup or contact lenses until the eyelid bump has healed.

Learn about other eye infections here.

It is not always possible to prevent styes and chalazia, but keeping the eyes clean might help to stop them from forming.

To keep the eyes clean:

  • wash the face daily
  • remove makeup before going to bed
  • wash hands before touching the eyes or the area around them
  • avoid sharing towels

It may also help to clean the eyelids themselves. To do so:

  • wipe the base of the eyelashes with a clean washcloth dipped in warm water
  • use warm compresses on the eyelids, keeping the eyes closed
  • dry thoroughly

Learn how long a stye lasts here.

An eyelid bump can be irritating but is not usually harmful.

There is a range of home remedies a person can use to help treat the cause of an eyelid bump. Alternatively, doctors may recommend topical creams or procedures to safely remove the eyelid bump.

Read the article in Spanish.