Do you have a lump in your eyelid, and not sure what it is?
It could be a chalazion. Luckily, a chalazion isn’t a serious condition and is simple to resolve. A chalazion is not an infection, so it cannot spread from one person to another or even to the other eye of the affected person.
A chalazion is one of the many eye lid conditions and is usually easy to treat and will go away completely following treatment. If non-invasive treatments don’t work, your eye doctor may have to remove it during an in-office surgical procedure.
What is a chalazion?
A chalazion, also known as a meibomian cyst, is a small, fluid-filled cyst.
Meibomian glands, which produce oil to lubricate the eyes’ surface, are found on the eyelids. When one of these glands becomes clogged, it can produce swelling and a tiny, painless lump called a chalazion.
What causes a chalazion?
Although it isn’t always know why the glands of the eyelids become clogged, some people appear to be more prone to developing a chalazion than others.
A chalazion may be associated with dry eye syndrome, which is often caused by meibomian gland dysfunction.
People who exhibit certain risk factors are more likely to develop a chalazion. This includes people who have:
- Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye
- Blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids
- Styes or a history of styes
- Seborrhea, or dandruff, of the eyelashes
- Ocular rosacea, a skin condition adjacent to the eyes
- Thicker oil or meibum than normal consistency
SEE RELATED: What Is a Stye?
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What are symptoms of a chalazion?
Common symptoms of a chalazion include:
- Red or swollen bump on the eyelid
- Blurry vision
- Sore or painful eyelid
While a chalazion is not an infection, it can become infected. In the rare cases that this happens, it may become painful, red, and more severely swollen.
Is it a chalazion or a stye?
It is often difficult to tell the difference between a chalazion and a stye.
Styes develop along the edge of your eyelid, and sometimes at the base of an eyelash. Whereas, chalazia usually occurs closer to the middle of the eyelid. A stye tends to have a yellowish spot at the center that may burst after a few days.
The most noticeable difference between a chalazion and a stye is that a chalazion tends to be painless while a stye is usually painful and may cause the eye to feel itchy, scratchy or sore.
How to treat a chalazion
Most eyelid conditions require minimal medical treatment, some may need anti-bacterial medication, while others might require an eye doctor to surgically drain the lump.
When a chalazion first appears, try these steps below for 1-2 days:
- Avoid touching the eye and keep the area clean.
- Gently massage the external eyelids for several minutes each day to help promote drainage.
- Apply a warm compress to the eyelid for 10 to 15 minutes, 4 to 6 times a day. The warm compress helps soften the hardened oil that blocks the ducts, allowing drainage and healing.
LEARN MORE: Guide to Eye Conditions
If the chalazion does not resolve and heal within a few days, contact an eye doctor near you. Don’t attempt to pop or squeeze the chalazion, as it may inadvertently cause more damage.
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