Ocular Papilloma: What You Need to Know

Ocular Papilloma: What You Need to Know

Photo by Amanda Linn

Papilloma, though often associated with skin growths, can also affect the delicate structures of the eye. Understanding this condition is crucial for maintaining optimal eye health and seeking timely treatment when necessary.

What is Papilloma?

A papilloma is a benign tumor or growth that arises from epithelial tissue. While papillomas commonly occur on the skin and mucous membranes, they can also develop on the eyelids, conjunctiva, and other ocular surfaces. These growths are typically noncancerous but can cause discomfort and visual disturbances if left untreated.

Signs and Symptoms

The presentation of ocular papillomas can vary depending on their location and size.

  • Eyelid Growth: Papillomas on the eyelids may appear as small, fleshy masses or wart-like lesions.
  • Conjunctival Lesions: Papillomas affecting the conjunctiva may cause redness, irritation, and a gritty sensation in the eye.
  • Visual Disturbances: Larger papillomas or those located near the cornea can obstruct vision and lead to blurry vision or discomfort.
  • Tearing: Papillomas near the tear ducts may disrupt the normal drainage of tears, resulting in excessive tearing or watering of the eyes.


Diagnosing ocular papillomas typically involves a comprehensive eye examination conducted by an eye care professional. This may include visual acuity testing, slit-lamp examination, and imaging studies such as ultrasound or optical coherence tomography (OCT). In some cases, a biopsy may be performed to confirm the presence of papilloma cells.

Ocular Papilloma: What You Need to Know

Photo by Antoni Shkraba


Treatment options for ocular papillomas vary depending on their size, location, and impact on vision. In many cases, small or asymptomatic papillomas may not require immediate intervention and can be monitored regularly for any changes. Wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection to reduce the risk of skin tumors.

Larger or symptomatic growths may warrant treatment, which may include:

  • Surgical Excision: Surgical removal of the papilloma may be necessary to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications.
  • Cryotherapy: Freezing the papilloma with liquid nitrogen can destroy abnormal tissue and promote healing.
  • Topical Medications: In some cases, topical medications such as antiviral agents or immune modulators may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and promote regression of the papilloma.

Ocular Papilloma: What You Need to Know

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Papilloma, though usually benign in nature, can pose challenges when it affects the eyes. Regular eye exams and adherence to preventive measures, such as wearing sunglasses when outdoors, can go a long way in preserving  your ocular health.

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Ivan Yong

Dr. Ivan Yong is an optometrist with over 12 years of experience in the optical industry. He earned his doctorate from the Southern California College of Optometry and has practiced in multiple settings, including private practice, community health, and ophthalmology. Dr. Yong aims to expand access to affordable eyewear and improve eye health worldwide.