Eyelid lesions are abnormal cellular changes in and around the eyelids. They can be benign or malignant in nature and are associated with a wide variety of causes. Evaluation of a patient with eyelid lesions is usually conducted by an ophthalmologist, a physician who specializes in the care of the eyes and related structures. Specialists in fields like oculoplastics may also be involved in diagnosis and treatment, depending on a lesion's type.
Lesions can appear in the eyelids as a result of inflammation, infection, abnormal cell growth, or trauma. When a patient presents with an eyelid lesion, a doctor will examine the eyelid carefully, taking note of any physical findings. A sample may be taken for biopsy. The patient will also be interviewed to collect medically relevant information, such as a history of eye infections. All of this information will be used to develop a diagnosis for the patient.
For some eyelid lesions, treatment may be relatively simple. Medications can be prescribed to treat inflammation and infection, and patients may be advised to do things like gently irrigating their eyes or applying compresses to promote healing. A follow-up appointment will be used to confirm that the lesion is resolved, and the patient may make some lifestyle changes to prevent future lesions, such as avoiding allergens that cause eyelid inflammation.
Other eyelid lesions require more aggressive treatment. Surgery may be required to remove a lesion if there is a concern about malignancy. Depending on the size of the lesion, reconstructive surgery to repair the eyelid may be required. Patients may also need chemotherapy and radiation to kill any lingering abnormal cells and prevent the development and spread of cancer. Skin cancers like melanoma can appear on the eyelids and are sometimes very aggressive, requiring prompt and attentive treatment.
Some growths on the eyelids may look ugly, but actually be benign. Conversely, relatively minor changes may signal a serious problem. If people notice areas of redness, roughness, swelling, or unusual cell growth on their eyelids, they should make an appointment to see a doctor for evaluation. If it is necessary to take samples, patients should be advised that it can take several days to gets results, and doctors are usually unwilling to speculate about the nature of a lesion until they have actual information. People worried about eyelid lesions may want to ask if there is anything constructive they can do while waiting for results.