I think you are giving too much credit to milia by putting them into the same sentence as surgery. These small, totally benign keratin cyst, "sebaceous cyst" wanna-be's, are named for the Latin millet seed, which I guess in a way they resemble. The most apt treatment for them is a simple incision and expression ( incision and drainage would again be glorifying them needlessly). We take a lancet or 11 scalpel blade and express the debris with a comedone extractor. On the eyelids a forceps is the instrument of choice. This is a very quick, effective and simple process.
Topical Retinoids can be used along with steaming the face. You probably would have to graduate up to a Retinoid of fairly high potency such as Tazorac gel 0.1 or Retin A Microgel 0.1.
Another non-surgical method would be a Beta peel: a salicylic acid peel preferred. Pumpkin peels would be good since they are fragrant and more natural. Pumpkin has a high amount of salicylic acid.