Eyelid bumps usually begin as a small knot under the skin or on top. A person may not notice the bump in the early stage. Bumps occur on the upper or lower eyelid for similar reasons. Upper eyelid bumps that continue to increase in size have a greater likelihood of pressing on the eye itself and blurring vision than do bumps on the lower lid. However, a doctor should evaluate any eyelid bump that continues to worsen.
The eyelids have glands called meibomian glands. When a blockage occurs in the gland, a bump called a chalazion may form under the skin. As the bump on the lid grows, the eyelid may feel tender and painful. If swelling increases, the vision may blur. Applying a warm compress to the affected area for five to 10 minutes two or three times a day can encourage the blockage to soften and drain, according to The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. If the chalazion doesn't improve, an eye doctor may need to drain the gland. (see reference #1)
A hordeolum is similar in appearance to a chalazion, but unlike a chalazion, a hordeolum is caused by an infection that results in blockage of a eyelash follicle and the adjacent Zeis or Moll’s glands. It is commonly known as a stye. The bump may appear on top of the skin or under it, and the bump often appears red and swollen. If the bump occurs under the skin, the eyelid appears red in the surrounding area. The Family Practice Notebook says applying warm compresses for 15 minutes four times a day can help a hordeolum drain. If compresses are ineffective, an eye doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment or oral antibiotics. A hordeolum that hasn’t responded to treatment within 48 hours may warrant draining by the eye doctor. (see reference #2)
Xanthelasma are yellowish plaques or nodules on the eyelids. They are made of cells that contain lipids. Half off all people who develop xanthelasma also have high cholesterol. A doctor can remove the growth and will generally check the cholesterol of anyone presenting with a xanthelasma. Xanthelasma often recurs despite treatment. The condition is considered a predictor of cardiovascular disease risk. (See reference #3)
Skin cancer can manifest as bumps on the eyelid. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type and does not usually spread to other areas of the body. Most basal cell carcinomas occur on skin that has been chronically exposed to the sun, including eyelids. The Merck Manual says other types of skin cancer can occur on the eyelids, but they are not as common. Other types include squamous cell carcinoma, meibomian gland carcinoma and melanoma. A biopsy is required to definitively diagnose the type of cancer. (see reference #4)