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What is an Eyelid Lesion?

An eyelid lesion refers to any abnormal growth or tissue change on the eyelid. These can range from benign moles to more concerning cysts, skin cancers, and precancerous growths. Eyelid lesions can vary in appearance and symptoms, and some may cause itching, pain, or vision changes. Early detection and proper evaluation is crucial in determining the nature of the lesion and ensuring prompt and effective treatment.

Symptoms of Eyelid Lesions:

  • Appearance of a growth or bump on the eyelid
  • Change in color or texture of existing growth on the eyelid
  • Itching or discomfort on the eyelid
  • Pain or tenderness in the area of the lesion
  • Swelling or redness around the lesion
  • Drainage or crusting of the lesion
  • Vision changes or double vision
  • Inability to fully close the eye
  • Bleeding or discharge from the lesion

Types of Benign Eyelid Lesions

Seborrheic Keratoses

Seborrheic keratoses are a common type of benign growth that appears on the eyelids and other areas of the skin. They are typically raised, have a warty texture, and range in color from light tan to dark brown. Seborrheic keratoses are not cancerous and do not spread but may become irritated or cosmetically concerning if located in a sensitive area.


Papillomas are small, wart-like growths that can develop on the eyelids. They are caused by a viral infection and are typically benign. Papillomas may be single or multiple and range from a few millimeters to several centimeters. Although they are usually harmless, papillomas may cause cosmetic concerns or vision issues if they grow in certain areas.

Nevi or Nevus

Nevi, commonly referred to as moles, are collections of pigment-producing cells in the skin. They can appear anywhere on the body, including the eyelids, and are usually benign. Nevi can be any color, including black, brown, or skin-colored, and may be raised or flat. Most nevi do not cause symptoms or issues, but it is important to have any new or changing moles evaluated.


Hemangiomas are benign tumors made up of blood vessels that can develop anywhere in the body, including the eyelids. They may appear as raised or flat growths and range in color from red to purple. Hemangiomas are usually asymptomatic but may become cosmetically concerning if located in a visible area.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis is a precancerous skin condition that is caused by damage from long-term exposure to the sun. It appears as a rough, scaly patch on the skin, including the eyelids, usually pink, red, or brown. Actinic keratosis is not cancerous but may become cancerous if left untreated.


Xanthelasma are yellowish plaques that can develop on the upper or lower eyelids. They are made up of cholesterol deposits and are not cancerous. Xanthelasma can range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters and may be cosmetically concerning for some individuals. They usually occur in individuals with high cholesterol levels.

How Are Eyelid Lesions Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of eyelid lesions is made during a comprehensive eye examination. The doctor will perform an external exam to inspect the eyelids, lashes, and surrounding areas for abnormalities. The doctor may also use a slit lamp to examine the eye structures in detail. This allows the doctor to detect changes in the eyelid tissue, such as lumps or bumps, and to assess the lesion’s size, shape, and color. In some cases, a biopsy may be taken for further analysis.

Reasons For Benign Eyelid Lesion Removal

Benign eyelid lesions may require treatment if they are causing cosmetic concerns, affecting vision, or showing any abnormal signs. In these cases, removal of the lesion through surgical means may be recommended. The surgical removal may involve a biopsy of the lesion to confirm its benign nature and to rule out potential health concerns. Additionally, removal may be recommended if the lesion is constantly irritated, prone to bleeding, or is increasing in size.

The Procedure Details

The surgical removal of a benign eyelid lesion is a relatively simple procedure. Before the procedure begins, a local anesthetic will be injected around the eye to ensure a comfortable experience. The surgery takes less than 30 minutes and involves the removal of the lesion using a surgical instrument. The procedure is generally well-tolerated, and no eye patch is required after the surgery.

Recovery & Aftercare

Following the surgical removal of a benign eyelid lesion, you may experience mild swelling and bruising around the eye. Some potential complications include bleeding, infection, and hematoma, but these are rare and can be effectively managed. To aid recovery, you must use eye drops or ointments, avoid certain activities or movements, and keep the surgical area clean. It’s important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure the right outcome.

Schedule Your Consultation With Dr. Braunstein

Dr. Alexandra Braunstein is a fellowship-trained oculofacial plastic surgeon with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of eyelid lesions. Dr. Braunstein performs a comprehensive evaluation of your condition and closely works with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your unique needs and goals. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Braunstein, please contact her office today.

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