Common Eyelid Problems that you Shouldn’t Ignore

The eyelid is a crucial part of your eyes. Anatomically, the eyelid has a complex structure. It has an anterior layer of skin, an orbicularis oculi muscle, and the posterior layers of tarsus and conjunctiva. The eyelid covers and protects the eyes from any kind of trauma, dust, and any other debris. The closure of eyelid helps in distributing tear film on the eye surface. And that is why the health of your eyelid is essential for the health of your eye. Infection and any kind of irritation can affect the health of your eyelids. Symptoms of eyelid problems include itching, swelling, excessive tearing, and redness.

Common Eyelid Problems

1. Blepharitis

This is one of the most common eyelid problems. It is the inflammation of the margin of the eyelid. The common symptoms of Blepharitis include:

  • Tearing
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • The sensation of a foreign particle inside the eyes
  • Crusting around the eyes after waking up

When examined closely, you will find that the eyelids and lashes are thick with crust and debris. Mild mucus discharge and conjunctival injection may also be present. This condition usually occurs due to chronic bacterial lid infection and other conditions such as acne rosacea that affects the eye (ocular rosacea), meibomian gland dysfunction, and seborrhea.

How to treat it?

Initially, you may treat this condition with warm compresses, antibiotic ointments, and eyelid scrubs. Apply warm compresses for 15 minutes for loosening the crusts and the eyelashes. Warm compresses help in melting the oil produced by the meibomian glands, which can obstruct the orifices of the gland. Scrub the eyelids once you have removed the crusts using Q-tip cotton swabs, washcloth or using your finger. The doctor may prescribe Erythromycin or any another antibiotic ointment that is to be applied to the margin of the eyelid. Since this ointment temporarily blurs the vision, it is better to apply it at bedtime. The doctor may also prescribe antibiotic eye-drops.

If the problem persists, the eye specialist may obtain eyelid cultures for ruling out any possibility of resistant organisms. The doctor may give your oral antibiotics, visit If ignored, severe blepharitis may cause corneal ulcers. This is a chronic disease and eyelid hygiene is extremely important for avoiding the disease.

2. Chalazion

This is a benign and painless bump or occurring inside the upper or lower eyelid. It is caused by healed internal styes. These styes are usually not infectious. These cyst-like bumps form around the meibomian gland (oil gland) present within the eyelid, causing swelling and redness of the eyelids. The chalazion is mainly filled with pus and blocked fatty secretions that usually help in lubricating the eye but doesn’t drain out. Often, chalazion drains and disappears. This is especially when you have used periodic warm compresses and gentle massage on the eyelid. However, some may persist for over several weeks and may also grow to such extent that it becomes cosmetically unappealing. A large chalazion presses the cornea, thus, causing temporary irregularity on your eye surface. It may also induce astigmatism, resulting in blurry vision.


How to treat it?

Apply warm compresses for 15 minutes. Do this multiple times throughout the day. Visit a doctor. The doctor may give you a topical antibiotic if he or she finds any signs of infection are present. If the condition continues for over four weeks, It might require medical therapy and may be incised and drained.

3. Hordeolum or Stye

A hordeolum or a stye is a painful lump appearing either inside or outside the eyelid. It is an abscess which is filled with pus. A stye is caused by Staphylococcus Bacteria. Styes are extremely common and most of the people experience this at least once in their life. The external stye usually starts as a small spot appearing just next to your eyelash. Gradually it turns into a red and painful swelling. It usually lasts several days before it bursts and heals without any kind of treatment. Most of the external styes heal on their own and are short-lived. On the other hand, an internal stye appears on the underside of the eyelid. This also causes a painful reddish swelling. However, due to its location, the familiar whitehead doesn’t appear on the eyelid. The internal stye usually disappears completely after the infection is gone. However, it may also leave a fluid-filled cyst on the eyelid which may be opened and drained.

How to treat it?

Use a cloth soaked in warm water and apply it on the affected the area. Repeat this several times to reduce swelling and redness.


4. Seborrheic Keratosis

This is a non-cancerous lesion or skin growth commonly occurring in older adults. It is a brown or black coloured growth which is greasy, scaly and is slightly elevated. These result from excessive exposure to sun and are usually painless. Removal may require surgical excision. Visit a doctor if you get multiple lesions in a short time.

5. Actinic Keratosis

This condition is marked by rough, patchy, and scaly skin that develops due to constant exposure to the sun. This condition is also known as Solar Keratosis and unlike Seborrheic Keratosis, it can become cancerous. The doctor may perform excisional biopsy for identifying carcinoma-in-situ or dysplasia.

6. Nevus

Also known as freckle of the eye, a nevus is a coloured growth which is much similar to a mole on the skin. This is a pigmented or nonpigmented congenital lesion and may be slightly elevated as well. As you age, the nevus becomes more pigmented or elevated or cystic. The eye nevus is usually harmless. Nevus may appear either on the skin around your eyelids or inside the eye.

7. Xanthelasma

Have you ever seen yellowish growth around the eyelids? These soft yellowish plaques are actually fat deposit under the skin, known as Xanthelasma. This usually appears on the surface of the eyelids or the area surrounding it and indicates congenital disorders related to cholesterol. These are harmless but if you want, you can remove it. You have to undergo a carbon dioxide laser.

8. Molluscum Contagiosum

This is a skin infection caused by Molluscum Contagiosum virus. This virus produces bumps or lesions on the skin surface. If these bumps are present on the eyelids, it may also cause follicular conjunctivitis. This condition can be treated with, cryotherapy or curettage and excision.

9. Hydrocystoma

This is a translucent cyst that appears on the margin of the eyelid. It usually results from a blocked sweat gland in the eyelid. Complete excision needs to be performed for treating the condition.

10. Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of eyelid cancer. It usually appears in the lower eyelid and looks like a pearly nodule. If it appears along the margin of the eyelids then you may see eyelashes missing from that region of the growth. Although this does not metastasize, it Basal Cell Carcinoma can be locally invasive. The treatment involves surgical procedure. If surgery doesn’t seem appropriate, radiation and cryotherapy is also considered.

11. Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This is less common condition but is extremely aggressive. It appears as lesions that are scaly, raised, and are centrally ulcerated. The lesions generally occur on the upper eyelid. They may arise from the regions of actinic keratosis. The treatment procedure is similar to that of basal cell carcinoma.

12. Sebaceous Carcinoma

Middle-aged and older adults generally suffer from this condition. Sebaceous carcinoma often mimics a chalazion or blepharitis. It is locally invasive and spreads to the tissues surrounding it. It may also spread to the bones, lungs, and liver. Since it is much aggressive in nature, large and recurrent tumours may require surgical removal.

13. Melanoma

This is a very rare form of eyelid tumour and often appears like nevus. During examination, the doctor may evert the eyelid for investigating any conjunctival involvement. If it changes appearance, then an excisional biopsy of the lesion must be done. Constant and systemic monitoring and evaluation is essential.

14. Entropion

This is a condition where the eyelid margin turns inward. This causes redness, irritation, coupled with white mucus discharge. This condition generally affects the lower eyelid causing the lower eyelashes to rub with the conjunctiva and the cornea. This is more common in older adults and is an age-related condition. The doctor may prescribe teardrops and lubricating eye ointments or may also perform a surgical repair.

15. Ectropion

This is just the opposite of Entropion where the eyelid margin turns outward causing redness, irritation, and tearing. This mainly occurs in the lower eyelid. Treatment methods include application of lubricating tear drops.

16. Trichiasis

In this condition, the eyelashes are misdirected and rub against the cornea. This causes ocular pain, redness, and tearing. Removal of the misdirected eyelashes relieves the symptoms. If those eyelashes regrow, they can be re-epilated. Electrolysis or cryotherapy is also done for eyelash removal.

17. Dermatochalasis

Dermatochalasis is the laxity of eyelids muscle and skin and may cause functional loss of superior vision in case the tissue hangs over the eyelid and into your visual axis. This is an age-related condition and may require surgical repair.

18. Ptosis

Ptosis or droopy eyelid results from the weakening of the muscles that helps raise the eyelids. This is caused by damaged nerves that control these muscles or just due to the sagging of the upper eyelid skin. Ptosis is a part of normal aging process but it may also be caused due to a congenital abnormality or any type of injury to the eye or due to other health conditions such as stroke, tumours or other neurological problem. This can often interfere with vision. If it is caused by any other health condition, treating the underlying condition cures Ptosis.


19. Eyelid Retraction

The upper eyelid usually rests just 2mm below the junction of the sclera and the superior cornea. In case of the lower eyelid, it is at the junction of the sclera and the inferior cornea. The eyelid retracts often due to thyroid ophthalmopathy. If your eyelids are retracted, check your thyroid status. Other causes of eyelid retraction include tumours, blepharoptosis, and midbrain disease. Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the condition.

20. Facial Palsy

Facial palsy makes the closing of the upper eyelid impossible. It also causes laxity of the lower eyelid. Vigorous lubrication of the eye is the way to treat this condition. Use artificial tear drops and lubricating ointment.


21. Blepharospasm

This is a neurological condition marked by the forcible closure of the eyelids. This is the uncontrolled muscle contraction of the eyelids. This abnormal twitching of the eyelids often lasts for a few days and disappear without any treatment. The exact cause of this condition is not known and it is also not associated with any other disease or underlying condition. Primary symptoms are often mild and infrequent spasms. With time, these become forceful and frequent. In advanced stages, it may also cause functional blindness due to the inability to open the eyes temporarily. The treatment involves the periodic injection of botulinum toxin (Botox). This condition can occur with any specific ocular disease or movement disorder.

22. Epiblepharon

This condition is often seen in East Asian children (Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese). In this condition, the lower and the upper eyelids turn inwards resulting in irritation, watering, redness of the eye. In most of the cases, it gets better with lubrication; however, surgical correction may also be considered for permanent relief.


Often, skin problems, such as seborrheic dermatitis and eczema can also affect the eyelids, causing flaking on the skin of the eyelids and eye irritation. People having skin issues and allergies may also have a problem with their skin on the eyelids.

Disha Eye Hospital

Eyelid conditions must be addressed immediately otherwise it may interfere with your vision. If you have any vision-related issues, you may get in touch with the experts at Disha Eye Hospital. Book an appointment at

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