A chalazion is a cyst or lump on the eyelid. Chalazions cannot be prevented. However, using little or no eye makeup, keeping the eyelids clean, and keeping the face, scalp, eyebrows, and hands clean may reduce the chances of having a chalazion.
A chalazion can be caused by chronic inflammation (swelling, redness) of the eyelid glands. It can also be caused by a blocked oil gland in the eyelid. These glands are modified sweat glands and make secretions to keep the underside of the eyelid moist. An oil gland can become blocked with thickened secretions or dirt. When the gland is blocked, it can burst and become inflamed. Sometimes bacteria grow in the blocked gland and cause an infection.
The main symptom is a lump in the eyelid. A chalazion grows slowly. The lump can become large, but it usually doesn’t hurt. In some cases, the eyelid may swell and irritate the eye.
The health care provider can make a diagnosis by looking at the eye and eyelid and feeling a firm lump on the eyelid. No other tests are needed.
As soon as the painless swelling appears, a warm, moist compress placed over the eyelid will help open the blocked eyelash openings and glands. It also helps reduce redness and swelling. The cloth should be kept in place for up to 10 minutes. It should be used four times per day. Squeezing the chalazion or trying to pop the chalazion should not be done.
Contact the health care provider if the eyelid shows no improvement after a couple of days of self-care. The doctor may remove the chalazion surgically, may inject medicine into it, or may prescribe other medicines to be applied directly to the eyelid.
The eyelid must be gently washed with a clean wash cloth or cotton swab.
A chalazion usually goes away after 2 weeks.
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Copyright © 2016 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc.
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