Lymphomas can arise from most any lymphatic tissue (lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, mucosa associated lymphoid tissue (MALT)). The eyelid is a fairly rare place to get lymphoma but it does happen. This shouldn't be confused with ocular lymphoma actually inside the eye.
Nonhodgkin's lymphoma can start in the eyelid. These lymphomas are all quite rare. The lymphoma can be one of several types of Nonhodgkin's lymphoma, more often B-cell lymphomas rather than T-cell lymphomas.
Lymphoma types found in the eyelid (do not consider this a medically accurate list):
Symptoms can appear in the eye an average of two years before they are seen elsewhere.
The disease itself as well as treatment, which may include external beam radiation, chemotherapy, or both. Prognosis is better if the lymphoma has not spread to other parts of the body including the central nervous system.
New studies show that this type of lymphoma may be caused by the bacteria Chlamydia psittaci. It can be contracted from infected birds such as parrots. Scientists also suspect it can come from household cats because they also carry it. Chlamydia psittaci is known to cause a lung infection called psittacosis. Story
NCI Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Information
Ocular Oncology - Eye Tumors
Oculoplastics - Eyelid Anatomy
NCBI - PubMed
References - digging deeper:
Abstract: Malignant tumors of the eyelid: a population-based study of non-basal cell and non-squamous cell malignant neoplasms. Margo CE, Mulla ZD Arch Ophthalmol. 1998 Feb;116(2):195-8.
Case Study: Lymphocytic lymphoma of the eyelid
Case Study: Ki-1–Positive Anaplastic Large-Cell
Abstract: Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma of the Eyelid Arch Ophthalmol. 1999;117:955-958.
Abstract: Unilateral eyelid, conjunctival, and choroidal tumours as initial presentation of diffuse large-cell lymphoma SR Leff, British Journal of Ophthalmology, 1985, Vol 69, 861-864
Abstract: Radiotherapy for extranodal, marginal zone, B-cell lymphoma of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue originating in the ocular adnexa: a multiinstitutional, retrospective review of 50 patients. Uno T, et al. Cancer. 2003 Aug 15;98(4):865-71.
Abstract: Ocular adnexal lymphoid proliferations: clinical, histologic, flow cytometric, and molecular analysis of forty-three cases. Sharara N et al., Ophthalmology. 2003 Jun;110(6):1245-54.
Abstract: Ocular adnexal lymphomas: five case presentations and a review of the literature. Coupland SE Surv Ophthalmol. 2002 Sep-Oct;47(5):470-90.
Abstract: Mycosis fungoides causing severe lower eyelid ulceration. Game JA and Davies R, Clin Experiment Ophthalmol. 2002 Oct;30(5):369-71
Adult Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Information Pages:
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Diagnosis
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Aggressive Lymphomas
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Indolent Lymphomas
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Treatment
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Resources
Adult Hodgkin's Lymphoma Page
Hodgkin's Lymphoma Index
Other Pages of Interest:
Childhood Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Information Pages
The Lymphoma Information Network
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas, Peter M. Mauch (Editor), James O. Armitage (Editor), et al., 2004.
Section VI: Special Topics
Chapter 43: Unique Aspects of Primary Extranodal Lymphomas