Community Eyecare

Minor Ops

Cysts of Zeis & Moll , Papillomas and Sebaceous Cysts

A papilloma is a warty fleshy growth of skin, also known as a skin tag. They can be pink or pigmented. They are benign and not a form of skin cancer.

A cyst of Moll is a begin swelling of the gland of Moll. This is a small gland that sits at the base of an eyelash. It is usually a clear fluid filled cyst.

A cyst of Zeiss is a benign cyst arising from a gland of Zeiss. Glands of Zeiss are found at the base of eyelashes alongside glands of Moll. It is usually filled with a yellow oily fluid.

Sebaceous cysts are benign skin cyst arising from the sebaceous gland of the skin. They can occur anywhere on the body. Sebaceous glands produce oil for the skin hence the yellow colour of the cyst.

The CCG will not routinely fund surgical treatment of these lesions unless they

  • cause significant loss of function or
  • become grossly infected

Chalazion/Meibomian cysts

A chalazion is a small pea sized lump in the eyelid. It is due to blockage and infection in a meibomian gland in the eyelid. These cysts nearly always resolve spontaneously with time, they rarely cause functional loss or discomfort.

The CCG will routinely fund the incision and drainage of this lesion only if it causes significant loss of function and had been managed conservatively with heat, lid cleaning and massage for 3 months.

Infected cysts or cysts which have partially discharged onto the conjunctival surface forming a granuloma need referral for surgical treatment.

Suspected Eye Lid Cancers

It is important not to mistake a benign lesion for a skin cancer. If there is any doubt, please refer to a specialist. In general, a malignant lesion grows more rapidly than a benign one. It may ulcerate or bleed. It may from a crust in the centre. It may be painful. The normal shape of the eyelid may change and eyelashes may be lost.

Where melanomas or squamous cell carcinomas are suspected, patients should be referred to a specialist urgently using the two week wait referral system and treated within 31 days.

Where basal cell carcinomas are suspected, patients should be referred urgently and treated within 6 weeks of referral.


What should I bring with me?

Any eye drops and medication that you are taking, your glasses and reading material. Please wear a front fastening shirt or blouse as you will remain clothed for the operation.

What happens before my operation?

You may eat and drink a light breakfast if attending in the morning or a light lunch if attending in the afternoon before your operation and take your usual medication. You will be given a local anaesthetic injection around the eye by the doctor. This numbs the area. Local anaesthetic eye drops may also be put into your eye.

Are there any risks with this operation?

There are some risks/complications as with all surgery. Serious risks are rare, but infection, allergies, bruising, recurrence of lesions and scar formations are possible.

What happens during my operation?

A nurse will help you relax on a bed and apply anaesthetic eyedrops. The doctor will provide a small local anaesthetic injection which may sting for a few seconds, after which the area will be numb. The procedure will likely be very quick. You will likely require an eyepad for about 30 minutes to soak up any blood stained tears.

What happens when I return from theatre?

You will be given some antibiotic ointment, an eyepad applied and then discharged.

What happens when I go home?

You will be allowed home approximately after half an hour. You may have some stitches. These are dissolvable and take upto 6 weeks to dissolve. You may have a pad or bandage which can usually be removed within 2 hours of your operation. Your eye pad may be slightly blood stained: this is nothing to worry about You will be given eye ointment to be used several times a day, which will be labelled for you. This will be discussed on an individual basis. The staff will explain how to use it. It may be helpful if you get a friend or relative to help you. If, however, you have any difficulties with the ointment, please let the staff know. If you have some discomfort when the local anaesthetic wears off, take your usual pain relief tablet. Your eyelid may be swollen and bruised – this will eventually settle. If your operated eye waters, wipe it away from below the cheek – you MUST NOT rub the eye.

When can I drive again?

It is usual that you can drive the next day as long as your vision reaches the legal criteria as stated by DVLA

When can I go on holiday?

Generally, you should be able to go on holiday the next day, but please let your insurer know you have had a minor eyelid operation in any case.