Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
I have a red bump on the inside of my eyelid. It does not hurt but I can feel it when I touch my eyelid. What is it?      

Answer:
There are many different types of eyelid lesions. To make a definitive diagnosis regarding the type of eyelid lesion, a physical exam with an ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) is needed.

The most common cause of a red bump inside the eyelid is an area of focal inflammation called a chalazion. A chalazion results from an obstruction of the meibomian glands (oil-producing glands within the tarsal plates of the eyelids). If the gland openings on the eyelid margin become blocked, the material within the glands is released into the surrounding eyelid tissues. This initiates an inflammatory response that can cause redness and tenderness. Chalazia often evolve into chronic, cyst-like lesions as the body walls off the area of inflammation.

Treatment for chalazia in the inflammatory phase includes warm compresses and lid scrubs. Drops or ointments can be used, but they are usually not effective. When chalazia are chronic and cyst-like, incision and drainage may be required for resolution. Intralesional steroid injections are also an option, but they are less effective and can result in depigmentation of the skin.

Malignant lesions may be mistaken for chalazia, so it is recommended that an eye exam be performed by an ophthalmologist if you develop a persistent chalazion. Atypical and recurrent chalazia should be biopsied for a definitive diagnosis.

Answered by: Eduardo C. Alfonso, MD Alfonso_E_75px

Categories: Eye Conditions, General Eye Health

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Answered: Jul 10, 2012

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