Eyelid Papilloma Clinical Presentation

Updated: Nov 09, 2023
  • Author: Saif Aldeen Saleh Alryalat, MD; Chief Editor: Hampton Roy, Sr, MD  more...
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When evaluating patients with eyelid lesions, a meticulous history is essential. It’s important to ask about the timeline of the lesion's appearance, growth, and presence of any accompanying changes. Has the lesion been stable, or has there been rapid growth over a short period? Inquiries should be made regarding associated symptoms such as itching, irritation, pain, or discharge. Changes in vision or ocular discomfort, although not directly indicative of papilloma, can provide valuable context. Additionally, it’s important to identify risk factors, including any previous skin lesions or history of HPV-related conditions. Lastly, a thorough medical history, including medications, allergies, and systemic conditions, can offer insights into the patient's overall health and other potential causes or risk factors for the lesion. In addition to general questions about past medical history and family history, document the following:

  • Determine how long the lesion has been present.

  • Determine if the lesion has grown (eg, rapidly, slowly).

  • Determine if the lesion has changed in any way (eg, color, bleeding, ulceration).

  • Ask the patient if any similar lesions have occurred before anywhere on the patient's body.

  • Ask the patient if a malignant skin lesion has occurred before.



General inspection

During the clinical examination of a patient with an eyelid lesion, careful external examination is required. It’s important to the size, shape, color, and location of the lesion in relation to the eyelid margin and surrounding structures. Additionally, it's essential to assess the functionality of the eyelid, noting any lagophthalmos, entropion, or ectropion that might be secondary to the lesion's presence. Examination of regional lymph nodes, especially the preauricular and submandibular nodes, can be crucial in identifying any signs of regional spread, particularly in suspicious or malignant-looking lesions. Evaluating the integrity of the patient's visual field, ocular motility, and other adjacent ocular structures ensures a holistic understanding of the lesion's impact.

Slit lamp examination

The use of bright lighting, and often a magnifying loupe or slit-lamp biomicroscopy, can provide detailed insights into the lesion's surface characteristics, vascular pattern, and any ulceration or scaling. Palpation of the lesion can offer information regarding its consistency, mobility, and tenderness.

Assess for telangiectasias on nodular tumors, loss of eyelashes (madarosis), or whitening of eyelashes (poliosis) in the region of the tumor, and inspect the meibomian orifices to determine whether they have been destroyed. Ulceration and inflammation with distortion of the eyelid anatomy, abnormal color, texture, or persistent bleeding suggest malignancy.



Cutaneous papilloma has been associated with human papilloma virus infections. [6]



Eyelid papillomas, while benign in nature, can lead to a range of complications. Large eyelid papillomas have the potential to mechanically impair eyelid movement. This disturbance can disrupt the protective mechanisms of the eyelid, compromise the ocular surface and potentially lead to dryness or exposure-related issues. Large lesions can grow over visual axis impairing patients’ vision. In addition, lesions can be irritating or itchy to patients. Eyelid papillomas can result in significant cosmetic concerns for patients. This aesthetic disturbance can impact patients’ confidence and quality of life.  It's essential for clinicians to recognize and address these potential complications to ensure comprehensive patient care.