Skip to content

Eye Health Center

Font Size

Eyelid Problems - Topic Overview

Eyelid problems may be caused by irritation or infection. Common symptoms are redness, swelling, itching, and excess tearing; some drainage may also be present.

Common symptoms of a stye (hordeolum) include swelling and tenderness or a tender red lump on the eyelid with occasional discharge from the lump. A chalazion is a larger, hard lump that forms on the eyelids and, in most cases, is not painful.

Recommended Related to Eye Health

You Can See Clearly Now

Quick! Put your hands on your head. Are your glasses there? Grab your neck — are they dangling there? Now, hold your electric bill four feet from your face and try to read it.... Welcome to the midlife version of Simon Says, a nearly universal condition known as presbyopia, which translates roughly to "elderly eye" (as if crow's feet weren't enough). It usually starts in your early 40s, as the lens of the eye stiffens, losing its ability to focus and making it difficult to see objects...

Read the You Can See Clearly Now article > >

Skin problems, such as eczema and seborrheic dermatitis, can affect the eyelids, causing redness along the eyelid border or flaking from the eyelashes (blepharitis). Allergens, such as pollen and animal dander, may irritate the eye. People who have skin problems and allergies often have ongoing minor problems with the skin of their eyelids and allergic irritation of the eyes.

Eyelid twitching is often caused by stress or fatigue and usually stops on its own in a short time or improves with rest or reduced stress. Twitches are not a cause for concern unless they persist or occur with other symptoms that suggest nerve problems.

Drooping eyelids may be caused by aging, by injury to the nerves that control muscle tone in the eyelids, or by a neurologic disease, such as myasthenia gravis. If the eyelids start to droop slowly over a long period of time, this is less serious than sudden onset of drooping eyelids.

The eyelid can change size or position if the globe of the eye swells or is pushed forward. If eyelid changes are present with any vision loss, eye misalignment, or movement problems, an evaluation is needed.

Sometimes the lower lid turns in toward the eyeball (entropion), and the lashes constantly irritate the surface of the eyeball. This situation may require surgery, but it is not an emergency.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 25, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
    Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    eye
    Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
     
    red eyes
    Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
    blue eye with contact lens
    Tips for wearing and caring.
     
    Understanding Stye
    Article
    human eye
    Article
     
    eye
    Video
    eye exam timing
    Video
     
    vision test
    Tool
    is vision correction surgery for you
    Article
     
    high tech contacts
    Article
    eye drop
    Article