Eyelid cancers can appear as areas of elevation, depression, redness, scaliness, and dark or light discoloration. Any sore that refuses to heal is suspect. It is very important for an eyelid specialist to accurately diagnose this condition and remove the tumour entirely.

Upper eyelid sebaceous gland carcinoma
Lower eyelid basal cell carcinoma (rodent ulcer)

Even small tumours can severely damage the delicate structure and function of the eyelids, and impair the eye’s protection, or in the most severe cases lead to the loss of the eye or the patient’s life.

Eyelid cancers can be raised or flat and have dark or no pigmentation. They may be on the skin or occur deep inside the eyelid or eye socket. In the worst cases they may invade deep into the eye socket and spread elsewhere in the body. Any sore that refuses to heal is suspicious.

The most common eyelid cancer is basal cell carcinoma, which accounts for more than 90% of cancers in this area. This tumour rarely spreads to distant sites but needs to be removed completely to prevent spread to surrounding tissue structures.


A biopsy is when part of any suspicious lesion is removed and examined under a microscope. Complete removal of the affected area should follow a positive biopsy of malignancy. In more unusual cancers other specialists may need to be involved in the treatment.

Depending on the size and site of the cancer, the oculoplastic surgeon will use skillful reconstructive surgery to create a functioning and aesthetic eyelid to replace the diseased eyelid that has been removed.


Note: All treatment is preceded by a consultation and examination to establish the correct diagnosis.