A chalazion is an obstruction or blockage which is happened in a small duct in your eyelid resulting in a small bump and eyelid swelling.
Each of your eyelids is consisting of small glands called meibomian glands which are located near the eyelashes and produces one of the oils that lubricate your eye.
When these glands cannot extract their oil because their duct is blocked, the oil backs up and causes a bump.
A chalazion is not the result of an infection however it can follow an infection of the eye. An infection of these small ducts is called a stye, which can resemble a chalazion but is generally quite painful, while a chalazion is less painful. A chalazion can grow to the size of a marble in extreme circumstances.
A chalazion is typically mild and requires no special treatment other than the application of a warm, damp compress several times a day to help loosen the oil blocking the duct.
What causes a chalazion?
When oil from the meibomian glands, which are placed in the eyelids near the eyelashes, clogs the duct from which it is usually released, you develop a chalazion.
The meibomian glands produce one of the oils that lubricate your eye. If the gland is plugged, oil builds up in the gland and leads to the development of a bump on your eyelid.
The cause of a chalazion is not infection, although it may sometimes follow an eye infection, and a chalazion is not contagious.
What are the symptoms of a Chalazion?
Symptoms of a chalazion may include the formation of a small bump near the eyelashes on the eyelid. The bump may increase in size, and the entire eyelid may become tender.
Swelling of the eyelid surrounding the chalazion is also common. Less commonly, a chalazion may get very large and require surgical removal.
Common symptoms of a chalazion
A chalazion can form very quickly or develop slowly over time. You may experience symptoms all the time or just once in a while. Symptoms on or near the eyelids include:
- Increased tear production if the chalazion is irritating your eye
- Soft rubbery bump below the eyelid margin
How is a chalazion treated?
The mainstay of treatment for chalazion is the application of a warm, damp compress, typically a clean washcloth, for 10 to 15 minutes four to six times each day until the chalazion resolves.
The warmth from the compress helps to loosen the oils that are clogging the duct. You can gently massage the area with the warm compress to assist in relieving the blockage.
As the eyelids are very delicate, it is vital to be gentle, and you should not try to force or drain the chalazion yourself. In rare cases, a chalazion that will not resolve on its own must be surgically removed. Surgical extraction is generally done from the inside of the eyelid to prevent a noticeable scar.
Common treatments for a chalazion
Treatment for a chalazion depends on the severity and persistence of the condition. Treatments include:
- Application of a warm, damp compress for 10 to 15 minutes four to six times daily, with gentle massage of the chalazion
- Regular cleaning of the eyelids to reduce oil buildup
- Surgical extraction if a chalazion is large and does not resolve with home treatment