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.
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.
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
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.
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:
- applying trichloroacetic acid
- removing through laser ablation
- directly removing using a scalpel
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:
To apply a warm compress, a person
- 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.
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