What are they?
They are tumours located in the eyelids or in skin around the eyes (the periocular region). Eyelid tumours are very common, the large majority are benign but there are also tumours in this area that are malignant, they are less common and can be diagnosed in an eye examnation and a biopsy.
Eyelid tumours are very visible and often appear in the form of a lump, skin ulcer or an irregularity in the eyelid margin. The most common location is the lower eyelid, followed by the internal edge and the upper eyelid.
Causes and risk factors
Some eyelid tumours have been associated with sun exposure and fair skin.
The most common benign lesions on the eyelids and the periocular region are:
- Seborrheic keratosis
- Fibroepithelial polyps
In order of the most to least common, malignant eyelid tumours include:
- Basal cell carcinoma is related to sun exposure and fair skin and is usually found in those over 40. The mortality rate of basal cell carcinoma is very low as it does not spread and the invasion only occurs at a local level.
- Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common eyelid cancer. It is a more invasive tumour than a base cell tumour, as it causes more destruction of tissue, and may spread causing metastases.
- Sebaceous carcinoma is the third most common tumour. It is usually diagnosed late, as it has the characteristics of a stye or chalazion and sometimes it looks like chronic blepharoconjunctivitis in one eye that does not improve with treatment. In addition, it is highly likely to spread over the surface of the eye through the conjunctiva, it spreads through metastases.
- There are other tumours that less commonly affect the periocular region, including melanoma, carcinoma of the Merkel cells, sarcoma and lymphoma.
Surgical procedures to remove eyelid tumours may affect a significant part of the eyelid. For this reason, this type of surgery requires reconstruction techniques to re-establish the eyelid's appearance and function.
In general, with surgical treatment, the complete removal of the tumour if local, is curative, which is the case with base cell carcinoma that does not cause distant lesions or metastases. However, there are other kinds in which greater resection is required along with check-ups and treatment by an oncologist due to the fact that it can spread through metastasis.
Professionals who treat this pathology
Frequently asked questions
I've had a bleeding "pimple" on my eyelid for months, what should I do?
The best thing to do is to see an ophthalmologist, and if possible, an oculoplastics specialist, to assess it and if they suspect a eyelid tumour, then they will undertake surgery to resect it.
I had base cell carcinoma and it was operated on 2 years ago. Should I continue to have check-ups after a year even if I don't notice anything?
Even though the base cell tumour has been completely removed, it requires regular check-ups with your ophthalmologist who will do an slit lamp examination to assess whether the lesion has started to grow again while it is still in its initial stage.