Bumps And Cysts On The White Of The Eyes Can Be Scary
Small transparent bumps over the white part of the eye that appear suddenly are usually diagnosed as inclusion cysts or conjunctival lymphangiectasia. Fortunately neither one is nearly as bad as it sounds.
Two Common Causes For Cysts On The Eyes
Inclusion cysts are small fluid filled cysts from a thin enclosure of conjunctival epithelium. Epithelium is the surface tissue on the eye, analogous to the epidermis that forms the superficial layer of our skin. Sometimes inclusion cysts form after various types of eye surgery (strabismus for crossed eyes, cataract surgery, vitrectomies, ptosis surgery for drooping eyelids, and scleral buckles for retinal detachments). On occasion the fluid may be a little turgid or cloudy towards the bottom of the cyst and create a more difficult diagnosis. Larger inclusion cysts may also create some discomfort when they rub against the eyelids.
Conjunctival lymphangiectasia are the second common cause for transparent cysts on the surface of the eye. Unlike an inclusion cyst, these often appear as multiple small bumps on the surface of the eyes. The eye has a lymph system that help drain off the fluid that forms between cells. In contrast to the small capillary blood vessels (and inclusion cysts), it is not very complex. The cells that form it are loosely held together without an underlying membrane, and the valves that regulate the flow through it have very little structured control. It is not altogether surprising that sometimes the lymph flow through the conjunctiva gets out of kilter and forms these little cyst like structures.
Most of the time we don’t know the exact cause of cysts on the conjunctiva. Inclusion cysts are a result of some epithelial cells getting separated off and isolated. This can be congenital (occurring at birth) or develop later in life. Eye surgery can promote this condition by displacing remnants of epithelial cells. Any type of chronic eye inflammation may also induce the normal epithelial cells to abnormally reproduce and tend to form cysts. This may be the reason why conjunctival cysts are sometimes associated with eye allergies. A condition referred top as Steven’s Johnson Syndrome also can result in inclusion cysts. Conjunctival lymphangiectasia represents some type of dysfunction of the lymph drainage system of the conjunctiva. Where things go wrong is mostly speculation at this time.
See Your Eye Doctor For Any New Bumps On Your Eyes!
In our Fort Collins office, the majority of bumps we see are pinguecula. Pinguecula may appear similar to cysts but they are solid and not filled with fluid. Other more serious eye problems such as non pigmented melanomas must be ruled out when bumps appear on the eyes. Don’t take chances with your eyes, see your optometrist right away for any new bumps or lumps on the surface of your eyes!