Eyelid problems

Find out what to do if you have a lump on your eyelid, or an eyelid that's swollen, sticky, itchy or painful.

Most eyelid problems are harmless

Many eyelid problems are not serious.

It's fairly common to have any of these problems:

  • a lump that goes away by itself after 3 or 4 weeks
  • mildly itchy, flaky or sticky eyelids that clear up by themselves
  • swelling from a nearby insect bite, injury or operation that goes away after a week or so
  • twitching or blinking from time to time – often when you're tired
  • eyelids that droop (or get more "hooded") as you get older

Types of eyelid problems

Your symptoms might give you an idea of what's causing your eyelid problem. But do not self-diagnose – see a GP if you're worried.

Types of eyelid problems

Eyelid problem Possible cause
Lump or swelling on eyelid Stye or chalazion
Itchy, flaky, sticky or swollen eyelid Allergy, blepharitis or conjunctivitis
Yellow lump or patch on eyelid Xanthelasma (yellow patches sometimes caused by high cholesterol)
Eyelid turning outwards or inwards Ectropion or entropion
Hot, painful and swollen eyelid Cellulitis

There is separate information about twitching eyelids.

A pharmacist can help with eyelid problems

You can ask a pharmacist about:

  • what you can do to treat common eyelid problems yourself
  • if you can buy anything to help – for example, cleaning solutions for sticky eyelids
  • if you need to see an optician or GP

A pharmacist can help with eyelid problems

See a GP if:

  • you're worried about an eyelid problem
  • your symptoms are getting worse or lasting a long time
  • your eyelid is painful or you're in a lot of discomfort
  • you have yellow lumps or patches around your eyes

Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:

  • your swollen eyelid is red, hot, painful, tender or blistered
  • your eyelid droops suddenly
  • the pain is in your eye (not your eyelid)
  • the white of your eye is very red, in part or all over
  • you're sensitive to light (photophobia)
  • your eyesight changes – for example, you see wavy lines or flashing
  • you have a very high temperature, or feel hot and shivery, or you feel generally unwell
  • you think it's an allergic reaction

You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.