To document a unique case of a corneal/conjunctival epithelial inclusion cyst located in the orbicularis oculi muscle with a comprehensive review of variant conjunctival cysts and simulating conditions.
Clinicopathologic case report with detailed histopathologic and immunohistochemical evaluation for cytokeratins combined with a tabulation of mimicking lesions and relevant literature citations.
A 59-year-old man experienced severe blunt left periorbital trauma that resulted in a limbal partial-thickness corneal wound with an associated epithelial abrasion and a full-thickness eyelid laceration extending from the superior fornix to the margin. Several months after surgical repair of the eyelid a cyst appeared in the superior pretarsal skin. Histopathologic and immunohistochemical investigations supplied data suggesting that the cyst had a high probability of a corneoscleral limbal stem cell origin. Distinctive features of the lesion are contrasted with those of allied or simulating cysts.
Stem cells are now believed to be located at the corneoscleral limbus, in the inferior fornix, in the medial canthal region, and at the eyelid margin where transitions from conjunctival epithelium to epidermal epithelium occur. Due to their replicative, hardy and robust nature, stem cells displaced to alien environments are most likely to survive and produce cysts. The cyst’s corneal-type cytologic characteristics, the absence of goblet cells, and the expression of a broad spectrum of cytokeratin biomarkers in the current case give support to the proposal that limbal stem cells in the region of the corneal laceration were displaced to the eyelid orbicularis muscle and were responsible for this most extraordinary cyst. Comparison with other epithelial cystic linings lends further evidence for this conclusion.