A chalazion is a lump or swelling on the eyelid, which is caused by a blocked meibomian gland. Meibomian glands are tiny oil glands in the eyelids. They release oil which forms the outer layer of tears.
A chalazion can be felt as a lump in the eyelid, and is often painless. However, if the chalazion is infected, it may be red, swollen and painful.
When the meibomian glands are blocked, resulting in a chalazion, this changes the amount and composition of oil in the tears. Poor quality tears do not coat the eye surface well, leading to dry eye symptoms. Hence, you may also experience:
These conditions increase the risk of developing a chalazion:
Some small chalazia can go away without treatment. If it persists, you can consider conservative/medical or surgical treatment.
Apply a warm compress to your eyelid a few times a day, for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time. This can soften the oil in the blocked meibomian gland.
Gently massage the lump to push the oil out from the glands. Massage downwards for the upper eyelids and massage upwards for the lower eyelids. This will move the oily secretions to the gland openings.
Clean the eyelids, especially the eyelid margins where the gland openings are
Topical or oral antibiotics may be prescribed
Topical steroids may be prescribed or a steroid injection may be administered
If the chalazion does not resolve, a minor surgical procedure may be required to drain the chalazion. A steroid injection can be given to the affected eyelid at the same time to reduce inflammation.
Regular eyelid hygiene is important. A daily routine of warm compress, massage and cleansing at least twice a day is recommended. Without regular eyelid hygiene, it is possible for a chalazion to recur even after it has been surgically drained.