A chalazion can form when the oil produced from a gland of the eyelid thickens and can no longer flow. When the oil hardens, it blocks the gland and causes a lump to form in the eyelid. This condition can recur.
The initial symptom is a small swelling on the eyelid. It may look like a stye. It may or may not be painful. After a few days, the lump on the eyelid often begins to harden.
A chalazion can rarely cause complications, which may include:
- Localized infection at the site of the chalazion (stye)
- Visual problems due to the chalazion pushing against and distorting the shape of the eye
A chalazion will often disappear on its own. If needed, treatment may include:
A warm compress is applied to the affected eyelid several times a day. Follow with gentle massage.
Corticosteroid is injected into the chalazion. This is done by an ophthalmologist, but is rarely required. Antibiotics may also be used if an infection (stye) develops.
An incision may be made near the chalazion to allow it to drain. The procedure is usually performed in the office with a local anesthetic. Surgery may be done if the chalazion does not respond to other treatments. It may also be considered if the chalazion is large, grows rapidly, or causes vision problems.
Eyelid hygiene can prevent the development of a chalazion:
- Always wash your hands before touching your eyes.
- Always use a clean facecloth when washing your face.
- Wash your eyelids with warm water and mild soap.
- Never squeeze or poke your eye.
- Do not rub your eye.
- Make sure your contacts are clean before putting them in.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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