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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 several days or 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 pharmacist, GP or optician.

Common eyelid problems and possible causes
Eyelid problem Possible cause
Eyelid problem

Lump or swelling on eyelid

Possible cause

Stye or meibomian cyst (chalazion)

Eyelid problem

Itchy, flaky, sticky or swollen eyelid

Possible cause

Allergy, blepharitis, or conjunctivitis

Eyelid problem

Yellow lump or patch on eyelid

Possible cause

Xanthelasma (yellow patches sometimes caused by high cholesterol)

Eyelid problem

Eyelid turning outwards or inwards

Possible cause

Ectropion or entropion

Eyelid problem

Hot, painful and swollen eyelid

Possible cause



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, like a stye or conjunctivitis, yourself
  • if you can buy anything to help – for example, cleaning solutions for sticky eyelids
  • if you need to see an optician or GP

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you're worried about an eyelid problem
  • your eyelid symptoms are not improving or they're lasting a long time
  • you have yellow lumps or patches around your eyes

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

  • your swollen eyelid is red, hot, painful, tender or blistered
  • your eyelid droops suddenly
  • you cannot open your eye or keep it open
  • the pain is in your eye (not your eyelid)
  • the white of your eye is very red, in part or all over
  • you have eye symptoms and a headache or you feel sick or are being sick
  • a newborn baby (less than 1 month old) has a sticky, red eye
  • you're sensitive to light (photophobia)
  • your eyesight changes – for example, you have blurred vision and see wavy flashing lights, zigzag patterns or coloured spots or lines
  • 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.

Page last reviewed: 17 November 2023
Next review due: 17 November 2026