What are the common eyelid conditions?

Eyelid conditions are relatively common and rarely serious, but a doctor should be seen if worried or if the affected eye causes significant discomfort.

A doctor must be seen right away or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department if there is pain or discomfort in or around the eye or any vision loss.

Inflamed eyelid or eyelid cyst

It is common for the upper or lower eyelid to end up inflamed due to the Meibomian gland. This develops if the glands in the eyelid is clogged.

The cysts tend to vary in size from barely visible up to the size of a grape. Generally, it takes weeks for a cyst to form. In most cases, they are not painful but can become reddened and painful if infected. Most of the cysts settle on their own but can take a few months to get better.


Flaky and itchy eyelids are caused by an inflamed eyelid or dry eye.

A self-care measure to help them heal is to hold a clean flannel soaked in hot water and wring out the excess. Place it over the closed eye for around 5 minutes and repeat 3-4 times throughout the day for up to 4 weeks.

Flaking, itchy or sticky eyelids

Flaky and itchy eyelids are caused by an inflamed eyelid or dry eye. The eyelids might also adhere together and hard to open, especially upon waking up in the morning.

Remember that these can be irritating but rarely serious. The irritation can be decreased by making sure that the eyelids are clean and apply artificial tears if the eyes are dry.

Eyelid lumps

Lumps can form on or around the eyelids. Most of these lumps are simple cysts. Nevertheless, a lump might also be an indication of a serious condition such as skin cancer that requires removal.

Droopy or hooded upper eyelids

As one gets older, it is common to have excess skin above the upper eyelids that can overhang and disrupt vision which is called as dermatochalasis. If the vision is affected, surgery might be required.

In case the upper lid edge droops down over the eye, it is known as ptosis. This is related to the aging process and slowly develops. Surgery might be necessary if the edge of the lid droops significantly to affect vision.

Outward rolling of the lower eyelid (ectropion)

As part of the aging process, one or both lower eyelids might droop away from the eye and turn outwards. This can disrupt the normal production of tears that can lead to dry, reddened and irritated eyes.

Inward rolling of the eyelids (entropion)

This generally affects the lower eyelids but can oftentimes affect the upper and generally linked with the aging process.

Entropion causes an uncomfortable watery eye since the lashes irritate the front region of the eye. In mild cases, eyedrops can be used to protect the eye and provide comfort.


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