Lumps and swellings around the eyelid are common and the majority are not serious. The most common cause is a blockage in one of the tiny oil glands of the lid and this is called a chalazion. These can be quickly and easily removed under local anaesthetic.
A white or clear lump that forms on the eyelid is also caused by a blocked gland and are called cysts of Zeiss or Moll. Again these can be easily removed under local anaesthetic.
Sometimes fatty streaks can appear on the upper and/or lower eyelids – these are called xanthelasma. If you develop these it is wise to see your GP to check the level of fats in your blood. These patches can be removed under local anaesthetic although you will need some dissolving stitches during the operation.
Although not common, lumps on the eyelid can be more serious. If you develop a lump in or around your eyelid, see your GP.
Watering eyes are a common symptom and, although not serious, can be very troublesome. There are a number of causes for watering but one of the commonest is blockage of the channels that drain tears from the eye.
It is often possible to improve this drainage (and so reduce the watering) with a small procedure to open the tear ducts. This either involves flushing fluid down the channels to clear them or if this is not possible, enlarging the opening of the ducts with a small operation. Either of these procedures is done under local anaesthetic and only takes a few minutes.
Sometimes the procedures described above do not clear the blockage. This can mean that a bigger operations will be required. You will be advised by the clinician performing the procedure of you have this problem and they will discuss with you whether you wish to be referred for a bigger operation.
Some people have misdirected eyelashes which grow towards their eye. Although this is not usually serious it can be very uncomfortable and makes the eye more likely to get an infection. Abnormal eyelashes should be removed and this is easily done under local anaesthetic.
With age, eyelids can become lax and lower lids, in particular, can turn in (entropion) so that eyelashes rub against the front of the eye. This condition causes irritation and may damage the front of the eye. Treatment involves surgical correction under local anaesthetic.