An Eyelid Bump Could Be a Symptom of High Cholesterol

Xanthelasma Palpebrarum (XP) is an eyelid bump filled with cholesterol. A cholesterol bump on eyelids are not dangerous but they can be a warning of high cholesterol or another problem like heart, diabetes, or thyroid disease.

removing cholesterol bump on eyelid

Cholesterol bumps on your eyelids rarely go away on their own, and you'll have a see a doctor to have them removed.

© Phynart Studio | Getty Images

XP eyelid bumps are cholesterol deposits in the skin of your eyelids. There may one or more than one and they may occur on both sides. They usually occur in the inner, upper eyelid area, although they can also occur in the lower lids. XP eyelid bumps are not painful and they don’t cause any vision problems. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, about 50 percent of people with XP eyelid bumps have high blood fats or high cholesterol.

What Are Cholesterol Bumps?

The Greek words xanthelasma means yellow plate. XP eyelid bumps are raised, plate-like cholesterol deposits. Cholesterol gives them a yellow color and they feel soft to touch.  Although the bumps are cholesterol deposits, they don’t always mean high cholesterol. Cholesterol bumps on eyelids are also are seen in people with:

  • High levels of triglyceride blood fats
  • Low levels of good HDL cholesterol
  • A high-fat diet
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease (hypothyroidism)
  • Herat and blood vessel disease (cardiovascular disease)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol abuse

XP eyelid bumps occur in about one out of 100 people. They are more common in women and they usually occur between the ages of 30 and 50. People who smoke may be at higher risk.

Diagnosis and Treatment of XP Eyelid Bumps

XP eyelid bumps don’t need any diagnostic tests or a biopsy. They can be diagnosed by their appearance and location. It is important to find the cause, so you may have blood tests to rule out high cholesterol and other blood fat conditions. Other blood tests may include testing for diabetes and thyroid disease.

Once XP eyelid bumps appear, they rarely go away. They either stay the same or increase in number or size. They are not dangerous, but they can become unsightly, so some people have them removed. A plastic surgeon or eye surgeon may remove the bumps with surgery or other techniques like laser, freezing, electrocoagulation, or chemical peel.

Other causes of XP eyelid bumps like thyroid disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, or alcohol abuse should be treated. If your XP eyelid bumps are caused by high cholesterol, you may be started on a statin drug to lower your bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol. Lifestyle changes that improve cholesterol and lower your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease are also recommended. These include:

  • Losing weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole gain
  • Avoiding added sugar and saturated fats in your diet
  • Drinking alcohol only in moderation
  • Not smoking

Cholesterol Deposits vs Milia

cholesterol deposits vs milia

© Vchalup |
Milia is different from cholesterol deposits. They are more similar to small pimples.

XP eyelid bumps may be mistaken for another type of eyelid bumps called milia. Milia are tiny, white pumps, more like tiny cysts than raised plaques. They are more likely to be white than yellow. These bumps appear around the eyes, nose, or cheeks. They are caused by dead skin cells that get trapped under the skin.

XP eyelid bumps are not dangerous and don’t need treatment, but they could be a warning for an underlying condition that is dangerous and does need treatment. If you see one of these raised, soft, yellow bumps in your eyelid, let your doctor know.

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Chris Iliades, MD

Dr. Chris Iliades is board-certified in Ear, Nose and Throat and Head and Neck Surgery from the American Board of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. He holds a medical … Read More

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