Chalazion

A chalazion is a small bump in the eyelid caused by a blockage of a tiny oil gland. This oil gland is located in the inside of the eyelid and produce a thin, oily fluid that lubricates the eyes. A chalazion is not normally infected. Over time, inflammation causes a nodule (or granuloma) to form. This is a firm, more solid lump that remains for a long time (is chronic).

 Symptoms

  • The usual symptom is a small lump which develops on an eyelid. It might look unsightly.
  • Sometimes it causes mild pain or irritation, particularly if it has just started - this usually settles. 
  • Occasionally, it gets infected. It then becomes more swollen and painful.
  • Sight is not affected. Rarely, it can become so big that it presses on the eyeball and distorts vision.

 

Treatment

  • No treatment may be advised at first. Between 1 in 4 and 1 in 2 people get better without any treatment. It can take quite a long time, between two and six months or more to resolve. However, if it is not causing you any problems, it is probably best to just to watch and wait.
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  • Hot compresses help to ease discomfort. Hold a clean flannel that has been in hot water gently but firmly against the closed eye. Do this for 5-10 minutes, 3-4 times a day. Sometimes this warmth and slight pressure is enough to soften the contents of the fluid-filled swelling (cyst), helping it drain more easily. (The water should be hot, but comfortable and not scalding.)
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  • Massage of the cyst after using a hot compress can encourage the cyst to drain. Do this gently, with a clean finger or cotton bud, in the direction of the eyelashes.
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  • Cleaning the eyelid twice per day removes grease and grime that may contribute to cysts forming. A weak solution of baby shampoo in warm water is ideal.
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  • Surgery is an option if it does not go, or if it causes troublesome symptoms.. The operation is done under local anaesthetic. The eyelid is numbed. A small cut is then made on the inside of the eyelid to release the contents of the cyst. It is a minor procedure.
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