A chalazion (pronounced Kuh-LAY-zee-un) is the enlargement of a gland that produces oil located in the eyelid. This gland is called the Meibomian gland. When it becomes clogged, it can cause a chalazion to form. It is important to note that chalazia are not cancerous and they are not caused by bacterial infection.
While these two things look similar, they have two different causes, and are typically found in different locations. A stye is caused by an infected eyelash follicle and is usually found near the edge of the eyelid. A chalazion tends to develop farther from the edge of the eyelid than styes do.
25% of those with chalazia will experience no symptoms, and chalazia will usually heal on their own with no treatment. However, the site of a chalazion can become swollen, red, and tender. Larger chalazion can also result in temporary blurry vision because they are distorting the shape of the eye. On rare occasions, chalazion can also result in swelling of the whole eyelid.
Warm compresses: These can help clean out the clogged oil-producing gland. A wamr compress should be applied to the eyelid for up to 15 minutes, anywhere from three to four times a day until the chalazion disappears.
Antibiotic ointments: While a chalazion is not caused by bacteria, once it forms it can be infected with bacteria. If this does occur, an antibiotic ointment can help clear away any infection.
Steroid injections: These can be used to help reduce swelling and inflammation of larger chalazia.
Surgical removal: In particularly serious cases where the chalazion doesn’t respond to other treatments, or is affecting your vision, Quigley Eye Specialists can perform eye surgery to drain it. This is performed by one of our experienced surgeons under local anesthesia in our office.
A chalazion typically responds positively to treatment, although they can reoccur for some individuals. If the chalazion does form again in the same place, you may want to schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist at Quigley Eye Specialists to make sure that there isn’t a more serious, underlying problem causing the chalazion to form.