Background.  Xanthelasma palpebrarum (XP) is a commonly occurring benign eyelid disorder.

Aim.  To determine the efficacy of topical trichloroacetic acid (TCA) 95% in the management of XP.

Methods.  This was a retrospective review of patients treated with TCA between June 2000 and July 2007. We recorded the outcomes of patients who attended the clinic at least 3 months after their treatment. We also contacted all patients with a minimum interval of 12 months between treatment and a telephone interview to assess for recurrence/persistence of the lesion(s).

Results.  In total, 102 patients were enrolled in the study. Of these, 44 were reviewed in the clinic. There were nine persistent lesions and four recurrences recorded at a mean follow-up of 14.3 months. Telephone interviews were conducted with 51 patients (146 lesions). Of these 51 patients, 43 had been given bilateral TCA treatment. The mean number of TCA treatments was 1.68. Mean time from the past TCA treatment to the telephone interview was 31.8 months. Of the 51 patients, 17 patients reported no recurrence, 22 patients had experienced a recurrence, 9 patients had persistence of the lesion and 3 patients undergone surgical excision of the lesion since the last TCA treatment. Overall, the success rate for TCA was 61% at a mean follow-up of 31.8 months.

Conclusions.  XP has a strong history of recurrence. TCA treatment may be effective in XP and is a short, simple and cheap procedure that can be repeated. Although the requirement for retreatment is high, patient satisfaction with the procedure is also high.