What to do if you have a lump on your eyelid, or an eyelid that's swollen, sticky, itchy, drooping or twitching.

Most eyelid problems are harmless

Many eyelid problems aren't serious.

It's fairly common to have any of these problems:

  • a lump that goes away by itself after 3 or 4 weeks
  • mildly itchy, flaky or sticky eyelids that clear up by themselves
  • swelling from a nearby insect bite, injury or operation that goes away after a week or so
  • twitching or blinking from time to time - often when you're tired
  • eyelids that droop (or get more 'hooded') as you grow older

How a pharmacist can help with eyelid problems

A pharmacist might be able to tell you:

  • what you can do to treat yourself
  • if you can buy anything to help, for example cleaning solutions for sticky eyelids
  • if you need to see an optician or GP

Find a pharmacy here

See a GP if:

  • you're worried about an eyelid problem
  • you think it's an allergic reaction
  • it's getting worse or lasting a long time
  • your eyelid is painful or you're in a lot of discomfort
  • you have yellow lumps or patches around your eyes
  • you have a rash on your body as well as lumps on your eyelids
  • you have a very high temperature, or feel hot and shivery, or you generally feel unwell
  • the side of your neck, armpits or groin feel swollen and painful (swollen lymph nodes)

Ask for an urgent GP appointment or go to A & E if:

  • your swollen eyelid is red, hot, painful, tender or blistered
  • your eyelid droops suddenly
  • the pain is in your eye (not your eyelid)
  • the white of your eye is very red, in part ot all over
  • you're sensitive to light (photophobia)
  • your eyesight changes, for example you see wavy lines or flashing
  • you have difficulty breathing
  • your mouth or tounge is swollen
  • you're lightheaded or confused
  • you feel faint or like you might collapse
  • you have blue skin or lips

Causes of eyelid problems

Your symptoms might give you an idea of the cause.  Don't self-diagnose  - see your GP if you're worried.

Lump on eyelid

Symptom - painful lump, filled with pus like a pimple
Possible cause - stye

Symptom - Hard lump, not painful
Possible cause - chalazion (meibomian cyst)

Symptom - Yellow lumps or patches
Possible cause - xanthelasma, sometimes caused by high cholesterol

Symptom - Blisters or scabs with a rash on the body
Possible cause - shingles or chickenpox

Symptom - Mole, freckle or patch changes shape, colour or size
Possible cause - skin cancer

Swollen eyelid

Symptom  - Swelling after contact with something you're allergic to
Possible cause - allergic reaction

Symptom - Red, hot, painful, swollen
Possible cause - cellulitis

Itchy, flaky or sticky eyelid

Symptom - Itchy, crusty or flaky after contact with something you're allergic to
Possible cause - contact dermatitis

Symptom - Sticky, with red, itchy, watery eyes
Possible cause - conjuntivitis

Symptom - Eyelids that stick together, crusty eyelashes, dry, red or irritated eyes
Possible cause - blepharitis or dry eye syndrome

Drooping or hooded eyelid

Symptom - Lower eyelid drooping and turning outwards
Possible cause - ectropion

Symptom - Lower eyelid drooping and turning inwards
Possible cause - entropion

Symptom - Skin above upper eyelid drooping down over eye
Possible cause - dermatochalasis

Symptom - Edge of upper eyelid drooping down over eye
Possible cause - ptosis

Symptom - Sudden drooping with vision loss and headaches
Possible cause - in rare cases, a serious condition like myasthenia gravis or brain tumour

Frequently twitching or blinking eyelid

Symptom - Frequent blinking or twitching, sometimes with uncontrollable eye closing
Possible cause - a type of dystonia (movement disorder) called blepharospasm

^^ Back to top

The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS Choices.
Last Updated: 04/10/2018 11:54:50