October 11, 2023
Related Resources: Dry Eye | Pediatric Ophthalmology
Have you ever noticed a small, focal, red, swollen area of your eyelid? This can be a chalazion, which is a blockage of an oil gland in your eyelid. These oil glands that line your upper and lower eyelids are essential to producing oil, which helps to keep your eyes moist as you go about your day.
OOMC is here to discuss this common condition, including symptoms, causes, treatment, and what can be done to prevent future chalazia from forming.
The symptoms of a chalazion are similar to that of a stye. A stye is typically more anterior in the eyelid near the lash follicle, while a chalazion is a little further back in the eyelid, affecting the meibomian gland. The difference is not truly significant, as they are treated very similarly.
Symptoms of a chalazion are:
Chalazion is sometimes associated with a bump on the backside of the eyelid in the same location as the blockage. The bump on your eyelid can be on the upper or lower lid, and multiple can present at the same time. They can often cause mild irritation and eye watering. If the chalazion is large enough, it may push on the eyeball slightly, leading to blurred vision.
Chalazia develop when there’s a blockage in an oil gland. These glands are called meibomian glands. The blockage causes the eyelid to retain oil and swell. What triggers this blockage can vary. Chalazia are most likely to occur in adults from 30-50 years old but can happen in all ages.
Some of the common causes of a chalazion are blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction. In addition, rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis are skin conditions that can make one more susceptible to the development of chalazia.
Chalazia can often be treated at home with hot compresses.
We recommend using hot compresses on the eye for three to four times a day for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time. Use a clean compress each time. Gently massaging the external eyelids can help promote drainage, as well. When the chalazion drains, keep the area clean.
However, if it is not getting better after a few days, we recommend a visit with your eye doctor. You may need an antibiotic/steroid ointment to help aid in treatment. If you still don’t see improvement, we recommend consultation with an oculofacial plastic surgeon who can examine and treat accordingly, sometimes with steroid ointments/injections or incision and drainage of the chalazion in the office.
Chalazia may also get acutely infected, causing the entire eyelid to get red and swollen. If this happens, you should contact your eye doctor right away.
The best way to prevent a chalazion is with good eye hygiene.
Always wash your hands before touching your eyes. This includes when you remove contact lenses. If your contacts are reusable, ensure they’re cleaned and cared for properly.
Wash your face before you go to bed and remove any makeup. If you wear makeup, replace any eye makeup every three months to prevent a buildup of bacteria in the product.
Your doctor may also recommend eyelid scrubs and nightly warm compresses to keep your oil glands open and healthy.
Contact us to learn more about managing your chalazion or if you believe it may need surgical removal.
The team at OOMC strives to provide a patient-centered approach to all vision care and will work with you to determine your treatment course.
Contact us online or by phone to schedule a consultation, today.