The integrity of the eyelids is vital to protect the eyes from environmental hazards. Any disruption or alteration in the normal lid anatomy can place vision in jeopardy. And certain masses involving the lids can do just that if they become large enough.
Chalazions are masses involving the eyelid that originate from the small meibomian glands that line the edge of the lid. They result from a buildup of secretion within the glands due to blockage of the ducts leading from the gland.
Chalazions appear as yellow to white swellings beneath the conjunctiva on the inner lid margin. Puncturing or incising these to remove the trapped contents will afford a cure. Hordeolums are pus-filled masses caused by infections within the meibomian glands or hair follicles lining the lid margin.
As with chalazions, these can be punctured and expressed to help speed healing. Topical or systemic antibiotics are also used to eliminate infection. Tumors that affect the eyelid can be very serious due to the inability to remove them surgically without disrupting the integrity of the lid.
Sebaceous gland adenomas are common lid tumors, especially in older dogs. Others include adenocarcinomas, papillomas, and melanomas. As an alternative or adjunct to surgical removal, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or cryotherapy (freezing) can be used as well, depending upon which type of tumor is involved.