What Is a Chalazion?

Chalazion is a small swelling at the edge or near the edge of the eyelid under the skin caused by the obstruction of sebaceous gland openings and the accumulation of secreted substances in the gland. At first, chalazion may be inflamed and cause redness and pain. In this case, it is similar to a stye. But after a while, pain and redness subsides, and the swollen lump remains at the edge of the eyelid or inside it. The size of this lump is not fixed and may gradually grow or shrink. Sometimes, chalazion may initially appear only as a massive swelling which is not accompanied by pain and redness.

Chalazion doesn’t usually cause an important ocular condition, and after several weeks to months it subsides and disappears. Applying a warm compress (for 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times a day) using a clean towel and gentle massage may help unblock the oil gland openings and accelerate healing.

How to Treat a Chalazion

Small chalazions that do not have an unpleasant appearance do not require any special treatment either, and usually go away over time. Larger chalazions need to be treated for two main reasons:

First of all, bigger chalazions have an unpleasant appearance and are aesthetically problematic. Additionally, their spontaneous treatment may take several months.

Secondly, large chalazions, especially in the upper eyelid, cause pressure on the cornea, and may result in cause astigmatism and blurred vision by changing the corneal shape.

So, in such cases, visit an ophthalmologist for treatment.

In this case, the main treatment method is chalazion surgery, done by applying local anesthetic and from the back of the eyelid, which does not require stitches. Another method is the injection of steroid suspensions into the lesion, which is rarely used, in cases where either there are many smaller chalazions that cannot be removed by a surgical procedure, or chalazion has appeared where performing surgery is likely to damage nearby structures.

Recurrent Chalazion

In some people, chalazion frequently recurs. In this case, because of the following reasons, it is necessary for the patient to visit an ophthalmologist:

Firstly, serious eye conditions such as malignant eyelid tumors are sometimes manifested as recurrent chalazion, which can only be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist. Secondly, in some cases, other eye conditions such as eyelid inflammation (blepharitis) or conditions in sebaceous glands (meibomianitis) result in recurrent chalazion. In this case, the disease being treated by an ophthalmologist helps prevent recurrent chalazion.