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Christine asked...

I often have small hard white lumps around the eye at the eyelash. what are they and what causes them?

I often have small hard white lumps around the eye at the eyelash. what are they and what causes them?

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The answer

Thank you for your question regarding white lumps around the eye near your eyelashes.

Problems on eyes and eyelids are fairly common and rarely serious, however without looking at your eyes it would not be possible to make a diagnosis as these lumps could be a number of things. It would therefore be best that you visit your GP for a firm diagnosis. You should seek medical immediately if you have pain in or around the eye or experience loss of vision.

We have however set out below some common conditions that can appear as white lumps around the eye, which we hope you will find helpful.

Milia:

Milia are located on the surface of the skin, are consistent in shape and usually found on the face and around the eyes. They are pearly-white or yellowish lumps, typically measuring 1-2 mm in diameter. There are different causes of Milia such as long term sun damage, long term use of steroid cream and blistering due to skin conditions, however the most common is caused by dead skin cells. Milia usually do not require any treatment, however if diagnosed, a doctor may chose to remove them with a needle.

Stye:

These are painful yellow lumps found on the eye or in the eyelid and are commonly accompanied by redness to the eye or eyelid. They are usually caused by a staphylococcal infection and often get better on their own, however sometimes it is necessary to release the puss, which should only be done by a medically trained person.

Chalazion Cyst:

Chalazion cysts, also known as meibomian or tarsal cyst, are small fluid filled cysts, typically 2-8 mm, found on the eyelid near the eyelid. Chalazion cysts are fairly common and it is possible to have several at once. These cysts are caused by a build up of oily fluid that is released by the meibomian gland found just below the surface of the eyelid. This oily fluid is used to lubricate the eye but can form a lump if the gland becomes blocked. Treatment is not usually necessary, however warm compresses can be used if they are sore.

Xanthelasma palpebrum:

These are yellow fat plaques found around the upper or lower eyelids. These can indicate a lipid disorder and as such if diagnosed should trigger a fasting lipid levels blood test by your GP. The lesions can be left alone unless the patient would like to remove them for cosmetic reasons.

We hope that you have found the information above helpful.

Wishing you all the best,

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses