What Is A Chalazion?

The term chalazion (pronounced kah-la’-ze-on) is derived from the Greek word meaning small lump. It refers to a cystic swelling with chronic inflammation in an eyelid. A gradual enlargement can be felt near the margin of the lid due to the swelling in one of the eyelid oil glands (meibomian). Occasionally swelling of the entire eyelid may occur suddenly. This condition is not to be confused with a “stye” which is an infection of an eyelash gland. Chalazions tend to “point” toward the inside of the eyelid. When the chalazion is small and without symptoms, it may disappear on its own. More often it remains, and with increased size, it can rarely cause blurred vision by distorting the shape of the cornea. Ordinarily, the inflammation is a reaction to the trapped oil secretions and is not caused by bacteria, therefore antibiotics do not tend to work.

How Are Chalazions Treated?

Treatment may involve any one or combinations of the following.

  • Warm compresses
  • Massage or expression of the glandular secretions
  • Steroid drops or injections
  • Surgical incision or excision (usually after 3-4 months of persistence)