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Chalazion and its treatment

Updated: Nov 25, 2023




A chalazion, also known as a meibomian cyst, is a small, painless bump that forms on the eyelid. It occurs when the oil-secreting glands in the eyelid become clogged, causing the oil to build up and form a cyst. While a chalazion can be unsightly, it is not harmful to vision and is generally not painful. However, if it becomes inflamed or infected, it can cause discomfort and even vision problems.


Causes of Chalazion


  • Inflammation: Inflammation of the glands can cause the oil to become thick and sticky, making it difficult to flow out of the glands.

  • Bacteria: Bacterial growth in the glands can also cause blockages.

  • Demodex mites: These tiny mites are found on the skin of many people, but can sometimes cause problems when they accumulate in the oil-secreting glands.


Symptoms of Chalazion


A chalazion typically appears as a small, painless bump on the eyelid. It may be red or swollen and may be accompanied by discomfort or pressure on the eyelid. In some cases, the cyst may become infected, causing it to become tender and painful. If this occurs, the area around the cyst may be red and swollen, and there may be discharge from the eye.


Diagnosis and Treatment of Chalazion


Diagnosis of a chalazion is typically made through a physical examination of the eyelid. Your doctor may also use a small light to examine the inside of your eyelid and determine if there is a blockage in the glands. If the chalazion is infected, your doctor may take a sample of the discharge for testing to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection.


Treatment of a chalazion typically begins with warm compresses. Applying warm compresses to the affected eye for 10-15 minutes, several times a day, can help to reduce inflammation and encourage the oil to flow out of the glands. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen can also help to reduce discomfort.


In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed if the chalazion is infected. The antibiotics can help to reduce the infection and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the eye. If the chalazion is particularly large or persistent, your doctor may recommend surgical removal. This is typically done under local anaesthesia and involves making a small incision on the inside of the eyelid to drain the cyst.



Preventing Chalazia


There are a number of things you can do to help prevent chalazia from forming. These include:

  • Maintaining good hygiene: Keeping your eyelids and surrounding area clean can help to reduce the risk of blockages in the glands.

  • Using artificial tears: Artificial tears can help to keep the eyes moist and reduce the risk of blockages.

  • Wiping away makeup: Removing makeup before bed can help to reduce the risk of bacteria and other particles from getting trapped in the oil-secreting glands.

  • Treating underlying conditions: Treating underlying conditions such as blepharitis, rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis can help to reduce the risk of chalazia.

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