A chalazion is a small lump in the eyelid caused by an obstruction of an oil producing (Zeis or meibomian) gland inside the eyelid. This may occur in the upper or lower eyelid. It is often red, tender, and swollen.
When the gland is obstructed, the oil builds up and forms a lump in the eyelid. Typically, this lump grows over days to weeks. Eventually, the gland ruptures (breaks open) and releases the oil into the tissue of the eyelid, causing inflammation (swelling, redness, pain, and/or warmth). An inflamed chalazion may also be called an “internal hordeolum.”
An external hordeolum, or “sty,” is an inflamed eyelash follicle or lid-margin tear gland. Neither condition is contagious.
TREATMENT FOR CHALAZION
Treatment of the chalazion may include the following:
- Application of warm compresses for about 15 minutes, 2-4 times a day, to reduce swelling
- Light massaging of the area several times a day
- A prescription for antibiotic eye drops or ointments if a bacterial infection is suspected to be the cause
- Do not “pop” or scratch the chalazion
If the chalazion does not resolve after these measures, your McKinley provider may refer you for treatment by an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in eye care and surgery).
You should contact your provider immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Any visual changes (e.g. blurred vision, decreased ability to see)
- Eye pain or drainage
- Extensive swelling or redness
- If both the upper and lower eyelid of one eye is swollen
- If both eyes are swollen
Ghosh, C., & Ghosh, T. (2010). Eyelid lesions. Retrieved from http://www.uptodate.com/online/content/topic.do?topicKey=priophth/2442&selectedTitle=1%7E5&source=search_result
Image of eye used courtesy of: University of Illinois at Chicago/Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Copyright University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Website at: http://www.uic.edu/com/eye/LearningAboutVision/EyeFacts/BlepharitisStyeChalazion.shtml