Benign Eyelid Tumors – Nevus at the Eyelid Margin

By Paul T. Finger, MD


A nevus (a benign tumor) is commonly found on the skin of other parts of the human body. A nevus can also occur on the eyelid skin. These tumors are usually pigmented and have thickness.


Benign Eyelid Tumors - Nevus at the Eyelid Margin
Note the relatively smooth surface, no eyelash loss, a long history of its presence, and no history of recent growth. Nevi can be melanotic “dark” like this one, or amelanotic “light-colored.” *Note* Some nevi grow during puberty.

Patients typically notice a dark spot on their eyelid that is thickened. It usually does not cause loss of eyelashes and though it can grow, most do not. When rapid (over months) growth, loss of eyelashes or discoloration of the nevus is noted, malignant melanoma is suspected.


Most eyelid nevi can be diagnosed by clinical examination. A baseline photograph should be obtained for comparison with future examinations. Very suspicious or rapidly growing eyelid nevi should be biopsied to rule out melanoma. It is important to note that eyelid nevi can slowly grow, and that change is particularly common during puberty.


Eyelid nevi are benign tumors. They can be photographed and followed for evidence of change or growth prior to consideration of biopsy or treatment. Large eyelid nevi can be a cosmetic problem that can be repaired by ophthalmic plastic surgery.

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