A chalazion is a hard bump that forms on the eyelid.
A chalazion can form when the duct leading from the meibomian gland to the eyelid becomes blocked. This gland produces an oily substance that lubricates the margins of the eyelid and the front of the eye. When the duct becomes blocked, the secretions from the meibomian gland harden. This causes a chalazion to form near the edge of the eyelid. This condition can become chronic.
A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for chalazion include:
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Acne rosacea
- Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
The initial symptom is a small swelling on the eyelid that often looks like a stye. It may or may not be painful. After a few days, the swelling on the eyelid often begins to:
- Grow slowly, forming into a hard lump
A chalazion can cause complications, though not often. These include:
- Localized infection at the site of the chalazion
- Visual problems due to the chalazion pushing against and distorting the shape of the cornea
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and perform an eye exam. Rarely, a sample of fluid from the chalazion is taken and tested in a lab.
A chalazion will often disappear on its own. Treatment may include:
Self-Care – application of hot compresses to the affected eyelid several times a day.
Medication – injection of a corticosteroid into the chalazion. This is done by an eye doctor, but is rarely required. Topical antibiotics can be used if a secondary infection of the chalazion develops.
Surgery – surgical incision and draining of a chalazion. This is usually performed in the office with a local injection of numbing medicine by an ophthalmologist. Surgery may be done when the chalazion:
- does not respond to other treatment, and/or
- is growing very rapidly or very large.
To help prevent a chalazion from forming, practice careful hygiene of your eye area. This includes:
- Washing your eye area daily with warm water and very mild soap if you have seborrheic dermatitis or blepharitis (unless given other instructions on washing your eyelids from your eye doctor)
- Applying warm compresses to your eye at the first sign of eyelid irritation