Dermoid cysts are a saclike growth that can occur anywhere on the body. Eye doctors treat dermoid cysts that grow around the eye. These cysts are usually present from birth and grow larger over time. They occur at areas where bones grow together (sutures). The most common location for a dermoid cyst around the eye is on the bone structure around each eye. About 25% of the time, a dermoid cyst around the eye will be on the upper eyelid next to the nose.
Dermoid cysts are under the skin and usually noticed by parents early in life. They feel like a marble under the skin and usually will move when pushed with a finger. Sometimes, the cyst can be attached to the bone.
Dermoid cysts are non-cancerous, but will grow over time. Surgery is needed to remove the cyst. Surgery is usually recommended after a child is 2 years old to minimize any anesthesia risks.
Some dermoids can extend deeper into the orbit (eye socket). An MRI or other imaging may be needed to determine the size and placement of the cyst. If an MRI is performed in a young child, the imaging will usually have to be performed under anesthesia (the child will be put to sleep).
Almost all dermoid cysts can be removed through an incision through the natural eyelid crease, which usually heals very well. Dissolvable stiches are generally used, and the child is usually seen in clinic 1 week after surgery to make sure everything is healing well.
If the dermoid cyst is located deeper into the eye or facial area, then a more extensive surgery may need to be performed. The goal of surgery is to remove the entire cyst without rupture of the cyst. If the cyst is removed completely, it is very unlikely that it will return.