Conjunctival Cyst On Eyeball

Additionally, a conjunctival cyst can occur as a result of trauma or be present at birth.

What Is a Conjunctival Cyst?

Cysts can also happen on your conjunctiva, though they’re not as common as pinkeye. They are a little more serious. But they sometimes go away on their own.

Eye Anatomy

The conjunctiva plays an important role in eye health. It protects the eye from bacteria and provides lubrication for easy eye movement.

The liquid around the eyeball has three layers. The inner layer is a kind of mucus that is secreted by the conjunctiva. The next layer is what we commonly call tears. Glands above each eyeball make tears. The third layer is an oily film made by a different gland.

The conjunctiva covers parts of the eyeball, but it also covers the insides of the eyelids. The fornix is the place where the eyeball covering meets the eyelid covering. The tissue in these areas is loose and soft so that the eye can move freely. Some conjunctival cysts happen in this area.

Symptoms of Conjunctival Cysts

If you have a conjunctival cyst, you may be able to see it. It looks like a clear blister or bubble on the eye. You may have extra tears and feel as if you have something in your eye. Sometimes, you might not notice any symptoms at all.

People who have conjunctival cysts often go to the doctor when they notice the cyst getting larger. The cyst may also become so noticeable that it is a cosmetic issue. Rarely, the cysts may cause blurred vision or affect how well your eyeball moves.

Causes of Conjunctival Cysts

Chemicals, allergies, and dry air can irritate the conjunctiva, leading to conjunctival cysts.

Some conjunctival cysts are congenital, meaning they’re there at birth. They usually happen at the fornix, where the eyelid membrane joins with the eyeball membrane. They are generally slow-growing and may go unnoticed for years. But there have been some cases of young children having large cysts.

Other conjunctival cysts may be caused by trauma to the eye. They can result from eye surgery, especially cataract surgery. They can also be caused by certain parasites.

Non-Surgical Treatment for Conjunctival Cysts

Sometimes, conjunctival cysts go away on their own. Doctors often advise waiting to see if this happens. To make your eye feel better in the meantime, you can use:

  • Artificial tears or other lubricating drops
  • Prescription steroid drops to ease inflammation
  • Warm compresses, which may cause the cyst to break
  • Antibiotic ointment prescribed by a doctor, in case of infection

Eye Surgery for Conjunctival Cysts

If your conjunctival cyst is affecting your vision or your quality of life, you and your doctor may decide on more aggressive treatment.

The simplest thing that your doctor can do is to drain the cyst. To keep it from coming back, they can give an injection to shrink the vessels that carry blood and other fluids to the area. This technique – called sclerotherapy – is similar to a treatment for varicose veins.

Doctors can also remove conjunctival cysts. They may use a staining agent to show the borders of the cyst so they can take it off completely. They sometimes use lasers, which are more precise and less invasive than traditional surgical tools. They may do this in their office instead of needing an operating room.

Another method for dealing with conjunctival cysts involves using plasma, an ionized gas produced by heating. The doctor puts plasma on the cyst, which causes it to rupture, removes it, and keeps it from coming back. This technique can be done in the office under a local anesthetic.

Show Sources

American Academy of Ophthalmology: “Conjunctivitis: What Is Pink Eye?” “Eye Anatomy: Parts of the Eye and How We See.”

Association of British Dispensing Opticians: “Conjunctival Cysts.”

Clinical Ophthalmology: “A Novel Approach to Treatment of Conjunctival Cyst Ablation Using Atmospheric Low-Temperature Plasma.”

Nvision Eye Centers: “Determining Safe Ways to Remove a Conjunctival Cyst.”

Plasma Science and Fusion Center: “What is Plasma?”

Saudi Journal of Ophthalmology: “Clinical study of histologically proven conjunctival cysts.”

St. Joseph’s Hospital: “Eyelid cyst removal.”

StatPearls: “Anatomy, Head and Neck, Eye Conjunctiva.”

Conjunctival Cyst

Conjunctival cysts are noncancerous growths on the conjunctiva — the thin membrane that covers the white of your eye. Some cysts go away on their own without treatment. But, even if you need it removed, a conjunctival cyst shouldn’t have any long-term impact on your eyeball or vision.

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What is a conjunctival cyst?

A conjunctival cyst is a benign (noncancerous) growth on your conjunctiva — the thin, clear membrane that protects the white part of your eye. It’s not a symptom of cancer and doesn’t mean you have (or will develop) cancer.

The conjunctiva protects and lubricates your eye. It’s a barrier between your eye’s vulnerable tissues and the outside world. The conjunctiva covers the white of your eye (your sclera).

Conjunctival cysts form on the conjunctiva itself and are filled with fluid. Depending on how big it is, you might never have any symptoms or even notice you have a conjunctival cyst. If you do have symptoms, it might feel like there’s something stuck in your eye. It might feel uncomfortable when you blink and move your eye, too.

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Some people are born with conjunctival cysts, and others develop them randomly with no cause (idiopathically). They can also be caused by anything that irritates your eye, from certain health conditions to allergens.

Visit your eye care specialist if you notice any changes in your eye, or feel like something is stuck in it.

Conjunctival cyst types

There are two types of conjunctival cysts:

  • Inclusion cysts: Inclusion cysts happen when a layer of your conjunctiva folds over onto itself. A cyst forms around the bump and fills with fluid as a response to the irritation. More than 80% of conjunctival cysts are inclusion cysts.
  • Retention cysts: Retention cysts form when one of the tiny ducts in your conjunctiva gets clogged by something like an allergen, dust or debris. A cyst forms around the blockage filled with cells and fluid from your lymphatic system.

Who gets conjunctival cysts?

Anyone can develop a conjunctival cyst. They’re more common in people older than 45.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of a conjunctival cyst?

Many people don’t experience symptoms of a conjunctival cyst, especially if it’s very small. You might not even know you have one until your eye care specialist notices it during your routine eye exam.

If you have a larger cyst, your symptoms can include:

  • Feeling like something is stuck in your eye, especially when you’re moving your eye.
  • Eye pain.
  • Difficulty or discomfort when you move your affected eye.
  • Difficulty closing your eye or blinking freely.
  • Bulging eyes (proptosis).

It might feel like the cyst is on the inside of your eyelid. This is because you’ll probably only notice it when you blink and your eyelid passes over it.

It’s rare for conjunctival cysts to affect your vision, but you might experience double vision (diplopia) if the cyst is big enough to impact your eye’s ability to move.

What causes conjunctival cysts?

Conjunctival cysts can be caused by anything that irritates your eyes. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye).
  • Pyogenic granuloma.
  • Dry eye.
  • Traumas and eye injuries.

Conjunctival cysts sometimes develop after you have surgery on your eye, including procedures to treat:

  • Strabismus (crossed eyes).
  • Cataracts.

Conjunctival cysts can also be congenital, which means you’re born with them.

Diagnosis and Tests

How are conjunctival cysts diagnosed?

Your eye care specialist will diagnose a conjunctival cyst with an eye exam.

They should be able to see the cyst when they’re looking at your eye. They might perform a slit lamp exam to measure the cyst. You’ll probably also need a visual acuity test to make sure the cyst isn’t affecting your vision.

You might need an ultrasound of your eye and the tissue around it to check for other growths that aren’t visible on the outside of your eye.

Your eye care specialist might biopsy the cyst to rule out infections or other conditions that could have caused it. A biopsy can help confirm that the growth is a conjunctival cyst instead of another type of cyst, including:

Management and Treatment

How are conjunctival cysts treated?

Many conjunctival cysts don’t need treatment, especially if the cyst is small and isn’t causing you any symptoms.

Your eye care specialist will monitor it with regular eye exams. They might suggest you use at-home treatments like over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops or prescription corticosteroid drops to keep your eye lubricated and prevent inflammation.

If you’re experiencing symptoms and the cyst doesn’t go away on its own, you’ll need it removed. Your ophthalmologist will perform one of two options to remove a conjunctival cyst:

  • Aspiration: Your ophthalmologist will puncture the cyst with a tiny needle and drain the fluid out of it. They’ll numb your eye and the area around it with a local anesthetic before aspirating the cyst. Aspiration is less invasive than surgically removing a cyst, but there’s a higher chance it will come back (recur).
  • Excision: An excision is the medical term for surgically removing tissue. Your ophthalmologist will numb your eye, and cut the cyst away from your conjunctiva.

How long does it take to recover from having a conjunctival cyst removed?

You’ll need a few days to recover after an aspiration or excision. Your ophthalmologist will tell you which activities to avoid and when you can resume your usual routine.

There’s still a chance a conjunctival cyst will grow back, even after it’s removed. Your eye care specialist will tell you how often you’ll need follow-up eye exams to monitor your eye and check for new growths.


How can I prevent conjunctival cysts?

You can’t prevent a conjunctival cyst from forming. In general, make sure you always wear protective eyewear and proper safety equipment while working with tools or doing any activity that could injure your eyes.

Outlook / Prognosis

What can I expect if I have a conjunctival cyst?

You should expect to make a full recovery from a conjunctival cyst, even if you need surgery to remove it.

A conjunctival cyst shouldn’t have any impact on your vision or eye once it’s treated.

There’s a chance the cyst will reform, or that a new conjunctival cyst will grow — especially if the original cyst was caused by an irritation like an allergen.

Living With

When should I see my healthcare provider?

See your healthcare provider as soon as you notice any changes in your eyes or vision.

Go to the emergency room if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • A sudden loss of vision.
  • Severe eye pain.
  • You see new flashes or floaters in your eyes.

What questions should I ask my doctor?

  • What type of growth is in my eye?
  • Will I need treatment?
  • How long will it take for the cyst to go away?
  • If I need the cyst removed, will I need aspiration or excision?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a conjunctival cyst, pterygium and a pinguecula?

Conjunctival cysts, pinguecula and pterygium are all growths on your conjunctiva.

Conjunctival cysts are small bumps that form anywhere on your conjunctiva. They can develop on their own randomly, or be caused by something irritating your conjunctiva. Most conjunctival cysts won’t cause pain, but you’ll be able to feel them when you move your eye or blink.

Pterygium (surfer’s eye), is a fleshy growth on your conjunctiva that has many blood vessels in it. It’s usually shaped like a triangle that starts in the outside corner of your eye and spreads into the center. It may remain small or it can grow and spread onto the cornea.

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Pinguecula are raised yellowish or white growths. They stay on your conjunctiva and don’t spread or overlap onto your cornea. They usually don’t cause symptoms or need to be removed.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

It’s always uncomfortable to feel something in your eye. That discomfort is usually the worst part of having a conjunctival cyst. Depending on what caused the cyst to grow, there’s a good chance you won’t need any treatment beyond a few visits to your eye care specialist to make sure it’s going away on its own. If you do need the cyst removed, you should only need a few days to recover and get back to your daily routine.

Talk to your eye care specialist as soon as you notice any changes in your eye, especially if it feels like there’s something stuck in it.

Bubble or Bump on Eyeball

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In this article

What Does a Bubble or Bump on the Eye Look Like?

Most bumps (or bubbles) develop on the conjunctiva (the outer layer of the eye). However, the growth may differ in size, shape, and location depending on the underlying medical condition. Sometimes the bump is white, while others are yellowish.

If you have any type of bump on your eye, visit an eye doctor as soon as possible. A comprehensive eye examination can help determine the cause of the bubble.

Images of Bumps on Eyeballs (Warning: Medical Images)

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6 Potential Causes of Bubble on Eyeball

1. Pterygium

A pterygium first presents on the side of the eye. It’s wedge-shaped tissue growth on the conjunctiva. A pterygium can continue growing to reach the cornea, raise discomfort, and even cause vision problems.

pterygium 1

More common names for pterygium include “surfer’s eye” or “farmer’s eye.” People who live in sunny, arid or dusty environments are more prone to pterygium.

Symptoms of a pterygium include:

  • Dry eye
  • Blurred vision or astigmatism
  • Pink or white “wing-shaped” growth on eyes

2. Pinguecula

A pinguecula is a yellowish patch or bump that will mostly appear on the side of the eye nearest to the nose. It’s a deposit of protein, fat, or calcium that develops from chronic irritation.

Some common causes of pinguecula include:

  • The aging process
  • Exposure to UV light
  • Dry eyes

Symptoms of pinguecula include:

  • Burning or stinging eyes
  • Dry or red eyes
  • Itching eyes
  • Tearing
  • Inflammation or swelling
  • Foreign body sensation (feeling like something is in your eye)
  • Blurred vision

A pinguecula can later develop a pterygium. In these cases, it can impair vision.

3. Conjunctival Cyst (Clear Bubble)

A conjunctival cyst is a sac that holds fluid or solid material. It’s located on the conjunctiva (which borders the inside of the eyelid).

If you have this eye condition, you may experience these symptoms:

  • Eye inflammation
  • Increased tear production
  • Eye reddening
  • Discomfort surrounding the eye

Additionally, a conjunctival cyst can occur as a result of trauma or be present at birth.

4. Noncancerous Tumor (Limbal Dermoid)

A limbal dermoid is also known as an epibulbar dermoid. It is a type of cyst found where the cornea and sclera meet.

This type of cyst is congenital, meaning it presents at birth. It can also grow to more significant proportions and result in vision impairment.

This condition does not have any specific cause. However, it is usually associated with some ocular and systemic abnormalities, like:

  • Goldenhar syndrome
  • Duane’s syndrome
  • Coloboma of the upper lid
  • Lacrimal stenosis

5. Conjunctival Tumor

A conjunctival tumor is malignant and often is classifiable as one of the following cancers:

Squamous cell carcinoma

This will be reddish or white and flat or elevated. This type of tumor typically does not metastasize. However, it can extend into the eye orbit and sinuses and cause vision problems.

Malignant melanoma

This type of tumor begins as a nevus (freckle) and is aggressive. Metastasis of cancer can occur, and the removal of the tumor will be necessary.


This salmon-colored lesion usually hides on the eye surface, beneath the eyelid. It may indicate systemic lymphoma (affects the body) or only be present in the conjunctiva. To confirm if the mass is a lymphoma, the ophthalmologist will request a biopsy and work-up.

6. Chemosis

Chemosis is a condition when your conjuctiva, the eye’s outer surface, becomes inflamed. The fluid build-up can look like there’s excess fluid trapped inside your eye. It can also look like your eye has a blister.

This condition usually results from:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Allergies
  • Hyperthyrodism
  • Eye trauma
  • Surgical complications

Symptoms of chemosis usually include:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Eye irritation
  • Excessive tearing
  • Puffy eyes
  • Swelling on the white of the eye

A bubble or bump on the eyeball appears as a blister-like formation in any part of the eye. It may be caused by pterygium, pinguecula, conjunctival cyst, limbal dermoid, conjunctival tumor, or chemosis. When a bubble or bump appears on your eyeball, see an eye doctor.

Risks of Eye Bubbles

An eye bubble carries a few risks. These risks include:

  • Vision impairment, such as astigmatism from big dermoid cysts
  • Cancer, which can spread to other parts of the body if not treated immediately
  • Pterygium from untreated pinguecula
  • Further eye infection
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Possible eye scarring

Remember to visit your eye doctor immediately if you notice any bubbles in your eye. Early detection will help prevent vision loss or complications.


If you have a bubble on your eyeball, you should make an appointment with your eye doctor. An optometrist or ophthalmologist can usually diagnose the bump on the eyeball visually. However, they may need additional testing. They will ask you about:

  • Eye injuries or problems you’ve had
  • Your contact wearing habits (if you wear contact lenses)
  • Cosmetics use, eyelash extensions, and other products that could potentially irritate your eyes

Your eye doctor may take a biopsy in order to confirm their diagnosis.

Eye bubbles may be an indication of a serious eye disease that can lead to vision impairment. An ophthalmologist or optometrist will be able to properly diagnose the bump on your eyeball.

Treatment for Bubble on Eyeball

Treatment for bubbles on the eye will vary according to the underlying cause. It is important to seek medical advice and undergo an eye exam when irregular growth appears.

Home Remedies

Home remedies for a pinguecula or pterygium include the following:

  • Wear sunglasses or contact lenses that block ultraviolet light
  • Use wraparound glasses, goggles, or other protective eyewear in dry, dusty conditions
  • Use artificial tears frequently to prevent dryness in arid conditions

For eyelid cysts, you can set a warm towel either on or close to the affected area of the eyelid.

Professional Treatment

In many cases, surgical removal may be the best option.

Pterygium surgery does not mean that a pterygium will not return. The recurrence rate falls between 30 and 40%.

Other eye care treatment options include:

  • Steroid eye drops (for eye irritation, for example)
  • Antibiotics
  • Steroid injections
  • Medication
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Steroid eye drops (for eye irritation, for example)
  • Antibiotics
  • Steroid injections
  • Medication
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy

The best course of action for people with an eye bubble is to seek treatment from an ophthalmologist or optometrist. There are home remedies and professional treatments available to address the issue.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population []; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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