Eyelid Tumors

About Eyelid Tumors

Eyelid skin is the most sensitive and the thinnest and can be easily damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet rays and is the most common region for skin cancers, especially on the lower eyelids. Most eyelid tumors are basal cell carcinomas, a slow-growing type of skin cancer that rarely spreads to distant sites in the body. Squamous cell and sebaceous gland carcinomas and malignant melanoma are also found on the eyelid and are more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma and can spread to nearby lymph nodes and other parts of the body.


Symptoms of skin cancers that develop on the eyelid include:

  • A smooth, shiny, or pearly bump or one this is firm and red.
  • A sore or lump that bleed or develops a crust or a scab that does not heal quickly.
  • A flat, flesh-colored, or brown scar-like lesion or a rough, scaly red or brown patched area.
  • An itchy or tender flat spot with a scaly, crusted surface.
  • A stye that does not heal.
  • Loss of eyelashes.


Columbia ophthalmologists are specially trained to carefully examine any abnormality on the eyelid to diagnose cancer. They can usually confirm the diagnosis through a surgical biopsy by one of Columbia’s expert pathologists. Additional testing may include imaging such as a CT, computed axial tomography (CAT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. 

Imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT) or computed axial tomography (CAT) scans, or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans. A sentinel lymph node biopsy is used to examine the sentinel lymph node, the regional node to which cancer may spread, and analyze it for the presence of cancer cells.

Treatments We Offer

Ophthalmologists treat tumors on the eyelid in a variety of safe and effective ways, including:

  • Mohs microsurgery – Our Columbia surgeons remove the tumor and a small margin of skin around it in very thin layers, examining each layer for tumor cells as it is removed, ensuring the best removal of cancer and the least amount of healthy surrounding tissue, and decreasing the rate of recurrence.
  • Frozen section control – Similar to Mohs, the tumor is removed in very thin layers
  • Radiation therapy – Using high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy and targeted therapy – Using topical chemotherapy in the form of eye drops to use after the surgical area has healed
  • Cryotherapy – The localized use of extreme cold produced by liquid nitrogen (or argon gas) to kill the cancer cells

Why Choose Columbia?

Our Columbia ophthalmologists will work tirelessly to give you the best prognosis possible with an excellent cosmetic and functional outcome with early diagnosis and treatment.