In most cases, the exact cause of a tumor is unknown but important factors are:
- Exposure to sunlight increases the risk of skin tumors on the eyelids and especially in people with light skin.
- Heredity is important, as some patients have a genetic predisposition.
- Patients taking strong medication that suppress the immune system are at greater risk of developing tumors.
A wide range of benign and malignant tumors may appear around the eyelids. Symptoms vary depending on the location and nature of the tumor. Eyelid tumors are generally visible to the patient, and may cause local edema, a localized loss of eyelashes, and intense redness. In rare occasions, they can lead to blurred vision, double vision, or displacement of the eye.
Various types of malignant tumors on the eyelids
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a common and relatively painless tumor that is virtually incapable of metastasizing. It represents 90% of malignant tumors on the eyelids.
- The squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC)
- The sebaceous gland carcinoma (a rare and aggressive form of cancer of the sebaceous glands on the eyelids that can spread both locally and through metastasizing)
- Melanoma (highly aggressive tumor with frequent metastases)
- Merkel cell carcinoma
Eyelid tumors are usually treated with complete resection and simultaneous reconstructive surgery. Some tumors may be treated by topical cooling (cryotherapy), radiation, or medical treatments that stimulate the immune system to destroy abnormal tumor cells.
Patients with certain type of tumors (SCC, sebaceous gland carcinoma and melanomas) require a general oncological examination to rule out the possibility of metastases.