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Eyelid and Orbital Tumors

What Lesions Occur on the Eyelid?

Eyelid growths or tumors may be inflammatory (stye or chalazion), infectious, or neoplastic (new abnormal growth). Symptoms associated with the growth (such as pain, discharge, or a non-healing wound) and the clinical appearance of the tumor (color, size, symmetry, destruction of eyelashes) help determine if they are benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancer).

How are Eyelid Lesions Treated?

Some eyelid lesions (chalazion) can be treated in the office with a minor surgical procedure. Others may need to be biopsied to evaluate the lesion for cancer. Treatment for most eyelid cancers involves removal of the entire lesion and may require special techniques (Mohs surgery, frozen sections, or lymph node biopsy) to assure complete removal. Reconstruction of the eyelid involves re-establishing the normal anatomy of the eyelid including the soft inner layer of the eyelid that touches the eye (conjunctiva), the firm connective tissue inside the eyelid (tarsus), and the front of the eyelid (skin and muscle). Techniques that may be used to repair an eyelid defect include skin and muscle flaps, conjunctival grafts from an unaffected eyelid, or full-thickness skin grafts from behind the ear.

What are Orbital Tumors?

Orbital tumors occur within the eye socket itself and typically present with pain, bulging of the eye, double vision, or decreased vision. These may be benign or malignant in nature. Orbital tumors are often evaluated with imaging [computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)] and may require biopsy or removal of the mass depending on the presentation and characteristics of the tumor.

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