A chalazion can form when the oil made 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 can happen more than once in a person's life.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the chance of a chalazion are:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Acne rosacea
  • History of chalazia or styes
  • Swelling of the eyelids—blepharitis



The first 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 problems, which may include:

  • An infection at the site of the chalazion (stye)
  • Vision problems due to the chalazion pushing against and distorting the shape of the eye


The doctor will ask about symptoms and medical history. An eye exam will be done. Rarely, a sample of fluid from the chalazion is taken and tested in a lab.



A chalazion will often go away on its own. If needed, treatment may include:

Self Care

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 needed. Antibiotics may also be used if an infection (stye) develops.


An incision may be made near the chalazion to let it drain. The is often done in the office with a local anesthetic. Surgery may be done if other treatments have not helped the chalazion. It may also be done if the chalazion is large, grows rapidly, or causes vision problems.


Eyelid hygiene can help prevent a chalazion:

  • Always wash your hands before touching the eyes.
  • Always use a clean facecloth for face washing.
  • Wash eyelids with warm water and mild soap.
  • Never squeeze or poke the eye.
  • Do not rub the eye.
  • Make sure 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.