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Chalazion

Definition

A chalazion is a hard bump that forms on the eyelid.

Chalazion
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Causes

A chalazion can form when the duct leading from a gland of the eyelid becomes blocked. This gland produces an oily substance that lubricates the margins of the eyelid and the front of the eye. When the duct becomes blocked, the oily substance can harden. This causes a chalazion to form near the edge of the eyelid. This condition can recur.

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your risk for a chalazion:

Symptoms

The initial symptom is a small swelling on the eyelid. It may look like a stye. It may or may not be painful. After a few days, the swelling on the eyelid often begins to harden. The bump grows slowly into a hard lump.

A chalazion can cause complications, though not often. Complications may include:

  • Localized infection at the site of the chalazion
  • Visual problems due to the chalazion pushing against and distorting the shape of the eye

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms. An eye exam will be done. Rarely, a sample of fluid from the chalazion is taken and tested in a lab.

Treatment

A chalazion will often disappear on its own. Treatment may include:

Self Care

A warm compress is applied to the affected eyelid several times a day. Follow with gentle massage.

Medication

Corticosteroid is injected into the chalazion. This is done by an ophthalmologist, but is rarely required. Antibiotics may also be used if an infection develops.

Surgery

An incision may be made near the chalazion to allow it to drain. The procedure is usually performed in the office with a local anesthetic. Surgery may be done if the chalazion does not respond to other treatments. It may also be considered if the chalazion is very large, grows rapidly, or causes vision problems.

Prevention

If you have seborrheic dermatitis or blepharitis wash your eyelids daily with warm water and very mild soap. Baby shampoo often works well. If you have been given specific instructions by your doctor for washing your eyelids follow those instructions.

Consider applying a warm compress to your eye at the first sign of eyelid irritation.

Revision Information

  • American Academy of Family Physicians

    http://www.aafp.org

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology

    http://www.aao.org

  • National Eye Institute

    http://www.nei.nih.gov

  • Canadian Association of Optometrists

    http://www.opto.ca

  • Canadian Health Network

    http://www.canadian-health-network.ca

  • American Optometric Association website. Available at: http://www.aoa.org/Chalazion.xml. Accessed December 28, 2012.

  • Chalazion. American Academy of Ophthalmology EyeSmart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/chalazion-stye.cfm. Accessed December 28, 2012.

  • Chalazion. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated December 22, 2011. Accessed December 28, 2012.