Small white bumps on eyelids may be caused by cholesterol, milia spots or even eyelid cysts. The white spots or dots can appear on both the lower and upper eyelids.
These can result in serious discomfort especially if they form on the inner eyelid area and last for months.
Pictures and identification
A white spot on the eyelid is likely to be a stye or milia.
These generally appear as small, painless or sometimes painful pimple-like bumps on the eyelid (upper or lower).
They are whitish or yellowish because they are normally filled with pus or a clear fluid. Here are pictures to help you identify white dots on your eyelids.
What causes little white bumps on eyelids?
Eyelid bumps can be worrisome especially given the role played by the eyes; who would not be scared to think about the loss of vision? There are numerous possible causes of those pesky white eyelid bumps. The general causes, in summary, include:
- Small lumps, cysts, spots and dots below and above the eyelid can be a stye, milium cysts, cholesterol etc.
- Blocking of oil glands that are found in abundance on the eyelids to provide adequate lubrication
- Poor sloughing off of dead skin cells. This often leads to the formation of milia in infants but adults may as well be affected.
- Bacterial infection: Staphylococcus bacteria are to blame in most cases.
Below, we have discussed these causes in detail.
1. Stye on the eyelid or a white pimple on eyelid
A stye, or sty if you like, is an infection of the oil glands that are found in plenty in the eyelids. Staphylococcus bacteria are usually the cause but any other genus of bacteria may cause a sty as the Family Doctor website points out.
Staphylococcus bacteria belong to a group of bacteria that are found naturally on the eyelid.
- When an internal or external factor stimulates excessive growth of these otherwise harmless bacteria, an infection of the oil-producing glands in the eyelids may occur.
- The infection shows as red, tender, swollen area of skin on the eyelid(s) coupled with a tiny white bump in the center (filled with pus).
Styes usually appear as small white pimples on eyelash line. Poor hygiene e.g. rubbing your eyes with unclean hands can also cause bacterial infection of the eyelids leading to sty.
2. Milia spots on eyelid look like a pimple
Milia bumps are small white bumps or cysts that appear on the nose, eyelids, and cheeks. They appear in groups or clusters, so they form clusters of white bumps under eyes. This condition is more common in newborns and children but may as well affect the adult population.
Milia spots result when the skin is not able to get rid of dead skin cells as well as it should be. As a result, these skin cells get trapped beneath the skin, resulting in white bumps on the eyelids, cheeks, or nose.
According to HealthLine, milia dots form when “keratin becomes trapped beneath the surface of the skin. Keratin is a strong protein that is typically found in skin tissues, hair, and nail cells.”
The bumps are usually very small and solid and are not associated with a rash unlike acne bumps or pimples which can easily be confused with them. In adults, milia are often triggered by severe sun damage and eyelid trauma.
3. Small white bump on eyelid after blepharoplasty
Some people who have had lower or upper eyelid surgery, called blepharoplasty, experience the white spots on the eyelid. Some people complain of these growths months or even one year after the eye surgery.
According to the New York Oculoplastic Surgeon Dr. Amiya Prasad, MD, a white cyst on the upper or lower eyelid is likely to be an epithelial inclusion cyst. This is another name for milia. The small white bumps on eyelid rim usually occur along the incision lines.
4. Little white cyst on eyelid rim from makeup
After eye infections like pink eye or conjunctivitis, some people get the little white dots on eyelid rim. But what if it is your makeup that is causing white spots on the eyelid rim? Expired eye makeup or cosmetics, as well as dirty tools for applying makeup, can cause an infection in the eye.
If makeup clogs your pores too, you are also likely to get an infected cyst on the eyelid rim. Avoid leaving makeup on when you go to sleep as this can cause clogged eyelash pores.
How do contact lenses cause a little white bump on eyelid? According to Med Health, contaminated contact lenses can cause all sorts of infections in the eye. If your eye won’t stop watering, gets a pimple like a cyst inside the eyelid, feels painful when you blink or causes other forms of discomfort, then the cause is likely to be the contact lenses you are wearing.
Poorly cleaned contact lenses carry bacteria and other types of germs. When introduced in the eye, these bacteria can cause infections that manifest with symptoms such as small pus-filled bumps on the eyelid etc.
6. Chalazion painful white spot on lower eyelid
Do you have a white bump on lower eyelid or upper eyelid? A chalazion results when an oil gland known as meibomian gland gets clogged or swollen.
Meibomian gland is a sebaceous gland that keeps the eyelashes moisturized by producing a sticky substance but it often gets its ducts blocked making it get clogged. When that happens, a white bump develops as a response to the inflammation.
- A chalazion begins as a small painful bump but the pain reduces and finally ceases as the bump continues to increase in size.
- A notable difference between a sty and a chalazion is the fact that a sty forms as result of bacterial infection of an oil gland but a chalazion forms as a result of a clogged or swollen oil gland.
- A chalazion also tends to grow relatively larger, in some cases attaining the size of a pea.
When a chalazion grows too large as to cause a distortion of the structure of the cornea, it may cause blurred vision or obstruction to the eye.
7. Cholesterol bumps
White bump on eyelid rim, below or above could be caused by cholesterol. These look like small globs that contain white fat under the skin. Cholesterol spots around eyes usually start as one bump that grows. After a while, they become clusters of bumps.
Yellow bumps on eyelid due to cholesterol are caused by a “high level of LDL and triglycerides” and genetic reasons according to Simple Remedies website. Only lifestyle and dietary modifications can help get rid of white bumps under eyelid from cholesterol.
Hard White Bump inside Eyelid
What does a hard white bump inside my eyelid mean? We receive emails and comments from readers concerned about white bumps inside their eyelids – as opposed to the outside of the eyelid – every now and then.
One common culprit for this problem is styes. As we have already mentioned, a stye develops when an oil gland in the eyelid gets infected for whatever reason e.g. poor hygiene, internal and external factors that cause an excessive growth of the otherwise harmless staphylococcus bacteria that are naturally found on the skin, etc.
Although most styes occur along the outside of the eyelid, some may occur inside the eyelid as the WebMD website points out. When a stye occurs on the inside of the eyelid is referred to as hordeolum. This is usually caused by an infection of one of the small oil glands found inside the eyelids.
Chalazia (bumps caused by blocking of oil glands in the eyelids) can also manifest themselves as white bumps inside the eyelid as the WebMD says. Chalazia tend to appear further from the outline of the eyelids than styes and usually grow larger than styes [see the previous section for more details].
Based on these facts, we can conclude that styes and chalazia bumps can manifest themselves externally as well as internally and are the prime suspects for the eye.
Little, Tiny White Bump on Eyelid
Using expired cosmetic products and improperly cleaned or handled contact lenses, poor removal of dead skin cells, and blocking and inflammation of oil glands can all lead to tiny white bumps on the eyelids.
The bumps may stay small or continue to grow over time and get more painful. In some cases, the bump may be painful but become progressively less painful as it increases in size.
Although eyelid bumps are generally not serious medical issues, with the exception of those that inhibit your vision, they may be particularly painful and/or unsightly, necessitating the attention of your doctor.
White bumps under eyelids that stay for months warrant the attention of a dermatologist. Of course, some causes of eyelid bumps e.g. milia may take a few months to clear completely, but it is always advisable to stay on the safe side by having a dermatologist examine a bump that sticks around for too long just to rule out any serious medical conditions like skin cancer.
There are symptoms that you should not ignore because they could point to a growing cancer concern. See a doctor as soon as possible if you have any of the following signs on your eyelid.
- A white bump or lump that won’t go away, lasts for months or even years.
- A white bump with no pain and that is not a stye.
- Dry eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Lumps on eyelid rim getting bigger or keep growing
How to Get Rid of White Bumps on Eyelids
What do you do to remove white eyelid bumps fast and easily? Treatments, cures, and remedies depend on the cause of the problem. You can remove or relieve styes and pimples at home using cold and warm compresses, aloe vera remedies and other cures. However, some underlying conditions will have to be addressed. So, without further ado, here is how to get rid of white bumps on eyelids.
- Observe proper hygiene measures: Avoid rubbing your eyes with unclean hands and wash your hands thoroughly any time you have to touch your eyes e.g. to wear contact lenses.
- Avoid sharing cosmetic products and ensure that all the products have not surpassed their expiry date
- Avoid using any cosmetic product on an infected eyelid until it has fully healed
- Styes and chalazions heal away on their own, generally taking a week and a month or more respectively. 4 to 6 Warm compresses (pressing the eyelids with a washcloth soaked in warm water) a day can, however, help to speed up the healing process.
- Clean the eyelids with a gentle soap or baby shampoo
- Never squeeze a bump to drain it at home as this can be a precursor to an infection (or further infection)
- If an eyelid bumps, however, bother you, talk to your doctor; prescription medications are usually enough to treat eyelid bumps but surgery may be performed to get rid of more serious or persistent bumps
- Antibiotic creams may also be used (as advised by your doctor) to treat styes more so if they are recurrent. Although rarely, oral antibiotics may be administered to treat chronic styes.
- Pre-moistened eyelid cleaning pads may also be given for everyday use to curb the risk of sties
Now you know the causes of a white bump on the eyelid and how to get rid of those small white papules around eyes. If you are not sure how to get rid of the white bumps under your eyes, it is important to see a doctor first for help.
Video on White Dots on Eyelid
Sources and References
- HealthLine: Milia Causes, Types and Diagnosis
- RealSelf: Bump on Eyelid 1 Year After Blepharoplasty Surgery?
- Eye Health Web: Everything You Should Know About Eyelid Cysts
- Realself: I have a white hard tiny bump on top of both my eyelids. What could it be? (photo)
- Simple Remedies: Cholesterol Deposits On Eyelids: Causes And Treatment Options