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What is a Chalazion?

A chalazion is a small cyst that develops on the eyelid. They are benign, generally painless and arise from a blockage in small oil glands in the eyelid called Meibomian glands. They can occur in people of all ages and are quite common in children. It is common for them to disappear and reappear and fluctuate in size. They are not contagious.

What treatment is required?

Most chalazions do not require medical treatment and spontaneously improve within a few weeks to months.  The doctor may recommend some home remedies that include:

  • warm compress: use a washcloth, warmed with hot water, and press firmly against the affected (closed) eyelid for up to 5 minutes as many as 5 times per day. This helps to reduce discomfort and liquify the oil in the blocked gland so it can drain more effectively.
  • massage: following the warm compress, use a clean finger or cotton tip and massage the affected area in a circular motion toward the eyelashes. This can help the oil in the blocked gland drain more effectively.
  • eyelid hygiene: regularly clean the eyelids. This can be done with pre-packaged eyelid wipes from the chemist or a home solution of 2 drops of baby shampoo in a glass of warm water and clean cotton buds. Wipe along the eyelid margin several times a day. This helps remove any debris and reduce the chance of an infection

Infected Chalazion

Common symptoms of an infected chalazion are a red, swollen and tender eyelid around the chalazion, discharge from the affected eye, and a red eye.  In more serious cases, fever may occur. It is important to seek immediate medical advice if these symptoms arise as antibiotics may be required to control the infection.

Surgical Removal

If all other treatment fails and the chalazion remains, a small operation with an Ophthalmologist may be recommended. This involves making a small incision in the affected area and draining the chalazion. This can be discussed in person with the Ophthalmologist, should the need arise.

If there is any concern or uncertainty about any lump on an eyelid of an adult or child, it is recommended to consult your GP who may refer you onto an Ophthalmologist for further review if required.


Posted on

February 14, 2019