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Milia - External and Internal Eye
See also in: Overview
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Milia - External and Internal Eye

See also in: Overview
Contributors: Brandon D. Ayres MD, Christopher Rapuano MD, Harvey A. Brown MD, Sunir J. Garg MD, Lauren Patty Daskivich MD, MSHS
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Milia (singular, milium) are minute epidermoid cysts that present as small white or yellow papules, usually on the face and, particularly, around the eyes in adults. They may be derived from the pilosebaceous follicle. Primary milia affect 40–50% of newborns but may be found in patients of all ages. Secondary milia often occur after dermabrasion or trauma or in conjunction with a number of blistering disorders, and they are due to damage to the pilosebaceous unit. May occur in tattoos.

Milia have also been known to occur in areas of steroid-induced atrophy. Persistent or widespread milia are associated with a number of syndromes. There is no racial or sex predilection.


L72.8 – Other follicular cysts of the skin and subcutaneous tissue

254679001 – Milia

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Molluscum contagiosum
  • Sebaceous hyperplasia
  • Oral-facial-digital syndrome (type 1) has multiple milia in the first few years of life in addition to congenital mouth and digital malformations.
  • Milia-like Calcinosis cutis
  • Syringoma
  • Trichoepithelioma
Some syndromes associated with milia:
  • Congenital hypotrichosis
  • Oral-facial-digital syndrome (type 1)
  • Rombo syndrome
  • Follicular atrophoderma and basal cell epitheliomata

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Updated:01/24/2021
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Patient Information for Milia - External and Internal Eye
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Milia - External and Internal Eye
See also in: Overview
A medical illustration showing key findings of Milia (Pediatric) : Cheek, Eyelids, Face, Nose, White color, Tiny papules
Clinical image of Milia - imageId=59031. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Few tiny, smooth, white papules near the eye.'
Few tiny, smooth, white papules near the eye.
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