Limbal Dermoid

What is a limbal dermoid (epibulbar dermoid)?

A limbal dermoid is a cyst that is present at the the intersection of the cornea (the transparent clear window in the front of the eye) and the sclera (the white part of the eye). The cyst is present at birth but can grow in size over time.


What causes a limbal dermoid?

It is not known exactly what causes a limbal dermoid. Some patients, however, may have other medical conditions or syndromes that impact a limbal dermoid.  It is important that patients with limbal dermoids be evaluated by their pediatrician or primary care doctor to make sure they are otherwise healthy.


What are the complications of a limbal dermoid?

Limbal dermoid cysts are non-cancerous, but sometimes the dermoids can grow to a size that may impair vision. If a cyst becomes large, it can also cause astigmatism. Astigmatism occurs because the cyst affects the shape of the eye and this causes the eye to focus differently. From time to time this astigmatism can cause amblyopia or lazy vision. A limbal dermoid may also cause redness and irritation in the affected eye. Sometimes, even though the limbal dermoid is not causing symptoms, patients are concerned about the appearance of the lesion.


How is a limbal dermoid treated?

Treatment is not needed in many cases. Watching and waiting is often the best approach, especially if the patient is young. The patient should have a full eye exam to check their vision and to look for astigmatism. If astigmatism is present, then glasses may be prescribed. If there is concern of lazy vision or amblyopia, a patient may need to be treated with a patch on the other eye to help the vision develop.  If the cyst causes redness or irritation, steroid eye drops may be used. If the dermoid is becoming larger or blocking the vision or a concern due to appearance, surgery can be performed.