Bumps on eyeball: Causes of growths on eye (eye bumps)

Bumps on the eyelid or around the eyes are quite common. However, some patients have a visible bump on the eyeball itself, which often seems like a very alarming symptom. In most cases, this is a benign and painless symptom due to an injury to the cornea or an eye condition that resolves spontaneously after a few days or weeks. However, sometimes additional unpleasant symptoms occur due to an eye bump, such as poorer vision or eye pain. It is also possible that additional symptoms only appear gradually. Medical assistance is therefore always indicated in the presence of a bump on the eyeball. The ophthalmologist will then initiate treatment as soon as possible.

  • Chalazion and hordeolum (stye) and bumps on the eye
  • Causes
  • Risk factors
  • Symptoms
  • Therapy
  • Corneal damage and growths on the eyeball
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Therapy
  • Eye cancer and lump on eye
  • Causes
  • Risk factors
  • Symptoms
  • Therapy
  • Pinguecula and pterygium
  • Pinguecula
  • Pterygium
  • Treatment of eye bumps
  • Diagnosis and examinations
  • Interview
  • Diagnostic research


Chalazion and hordeolum (stye) and bumps on the eye


Both a chalazion (harmless hard bump on the edge of the eyelid) and a hordeolum (stye) are bumps formed by inflammation. A stye is often the result of an infection (caused by a staphylococcal bacteria), but a chalazion usually results from a blocked gland.

Risk factors

Patients with the skin condition rosacea (redness and swelling of the face) and the eye condition blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid margins) may be more vulnerable to the development of a chalazion and a hordeolum. A patient also develops these bumps more quickly when he:

  • have allergic reactions involving the eyes (eye allergy)
  • wearing contact lenses for too long (poor contact lens hygiene)
  • rubs his eyes a lot
  • often use cosmetics on the eyes



These bumps usually appear on the eyelid, but eye bumps that swell or are located under the eyelid sometimes appear on the eyeball where they appear to grow. These bumps have a pink or red color or are the same color as the eyelid. Chalazia are hard, benign bumps that are usually painless. However, in a number of patients the nodules are painful when they open the eye.


This type of bumps disappear spontaneously within a few days to weeks in most patients. Applying warm compresses several times a day speeds up the healing process. Sometimes the growths burst open and the fluid drains away. Pressing on the bumps yourself is not recommended. If an infected stye is painful or obstructs vision, the ophthalmologist will prescribe antibiotics. In rare cases of persistent chalazion, the ophthalmologist may use steroid injections or require surgery to remove this eye bump.

Corneal damage and growths on the eyeball


When an injury occurs to the cornea, the eye becomes swollen and inflamed.


A red eye and eye irritation are possible symptoms of a corneal injury, but sometimes an eyeball bump also appears.


Using artificial tears and protecting the eye from the sun are useful tips. Furthermore, the patient should not wear contact lenses or apply eye makeup. He should not rub his eye if eye itching occurs. In some cases, the ophthalmologist prescribes antibiotics to prevent or treat an eye infection.

Eye cancer and lump on eye


Lumps, growths and bumps on the eyeball rarely indicate eye cancer. Cancer develops in many parts of the eye. Intraocular melanoma, a form of skin cancer, is the most common form of eye cancer. The pigment cells (color cells) of the eye are first affected.

Risk factors

It is not known as of October 2020 why eye cancer occurs. However, some genetic mutations (changes) do increase the risk. Patients with light skin color and light eye color are also more commonly affected.


In the early stages of ocular melanoma, the patient experiences a dark brown or black spot in the iris (the colored part of the eye). Some patients with eye cancer also develop a retinal detachment, causing poor vision.


The treatment for eye cancer depends on the stage and location of the cancer. An ophthalmologist uses medication, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and/or surgery.

Pinguecula and pterygium


Pinguecula causes fatty or protein deposits to form on the eye, often due to a combination of dry eyes and UV rays from the sun. The disease is more likely to develop due to exposure to excessive amounts of wind, dust and sun, which often happens to surfers, for example. The white or yellow bumps associated with pinguecula are irregular in shape. Dry eyes, red eyes and the feeling that something has entered the eye (sandy feeling in the eye) are characteristic of this eye disorder.Blurred vision is a symptom of a pterygium / Source: Nufkin, Flickr (CC BY-2.0)


A pterygium (surfer’s eye) is sometimes the result of a pinguecula, but the eye abnormality also occurs on its own. These growths that occur in one or both eyes are also the result of dry eyes and exposure to UV light. Long-term exposure to wind, dust or sand and sunlight are risk factors. The bump associated with a pterygium is thicker and located on the cornea. The triangular eye bump is yellow, pink or red. Over time, the growing bump becomes difficult to see. In addition to the appearance of the bump in the eyeball, the patient experiences a gritty feeling in the eye, itchy eyes, burning eyes, red eyes, inflamed eyes and blurred vision.

Treatment of eye bumps

Artificial tears or eye drops (taken according to correct eye drop guidelines) reduce symptoms. Furthermore, good eye protection is necessary, especially when the patient works in dusty environments or when he comes into contact with other irritants. If a lump causes eye pain or vision problems, the ophthalmologist will prescribe eye drops containing steroids. If that doesn’t work, surgery is sometimes required to remove the growth. Wearing sunglasses, staying away from dusty areas and keeping the eyes well moisturized reduces the risk of these growths coming back.

Diagnosis and examinations

An eye exam is needed / Source: Jeff Dahl, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)


The ophthalmologist asks the patient questions about:

  • the activities carried out in the outdoor environment
  • wearing contact lenses
  • the use of cosmetics, eyelash extensions and other products that cause eye irritation
  • recent eye problems or injuries


Diagnostic research

An ophthalmologist examines the eye bump and is often able to determine the cause based on its appearance. Pingueculae and pterygia are easy to recognize by the ophthalmologist. Corneal injuries can also be easily identified by, for example, knowing the cause (an injury). Chalazia and hordeolum resemble pimples on the eyelid. Diagnosing melanoma and other forms of cancer is often more difficult. In addition to examining the appearance of the bump, an eye exam is also necessary.

read more

  • Chalazion: Innocent hard bump in the eyelid margin
  • Corneal injury: Damage to the cornea in the eye
  • Pterygium and pinguecula, benign lesions in the eyes
  • Eye melanoma (uveal malignant melanoma): Cancer in the eye
  • Eye Cancer: Types and Symptoms of Malignant Eye Tumors

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