A chalazion is a tiny bump that can appear on the lower or upper eyelid. The painless bump often results from a healed stye that is no longer infected. Chalazia contain blocked fatty acids (lipids) and pus.
The eyelid bumps often form around the oil glands, causing blockages and preventing oil drainage. It usually leads to red, swollen eyelids. Chalazions often resolve on their own, but warm compresses can enhance healing.
A chalazion can be due to several factors, including blepharitis, rosacea, viral infections, and TB. Rosacea is a skin condition that causes bumps under the skin and facial redness. It also affects several eye areas (ocular rosacea), including the cornea, conjunctiva, and sclera.
Genetic and environmental factors can cause rosacea. Demodex mites can cause blepharitis, leading to the development of chalazion. Chalazia that fail to self-resolve can become a cosmetic problem. They can grow large, pressing on the cornea and causing blurry vision.
A chalazion often develops when the meibomian glands are blocked, leading to oil retention. Symptoms of the condition include:
A painless eyelid bump
Mild irritation and watery eyes
Blurry vision from the bump pushing on the eyeball
An eye specialist will examine the symptoms to diagnose the condition. During the diagnosis, the eye specialist will examine the eye, eyelid, lashes, and skin texture.
While chalazions often resolve themselves, they require treatment in some cases. Contact your eye doctor if you have a chalazion that fails to resolve within a few days. The doctor can recommend the best treatment method.
Applying a warm compress can help to relieve eyelid swelling and other symptoms. The doctor can recommend topical medication and provide instructions on cleaning your eyelids effectively. The condition is not infectious, and antibiotics are not an effective treatment.
Early intervention can prevent the growth of a chalazion. If warm compresses and topical medication fail to clear it up, an eye doctor may recommend excision. A simple in-office surgical procedure can remove the growth. Before the procedure, the doctor uses local anesthesia to numb the eyelid. After the area is numb, the doctor will make an incision under the eyelid before removing the chalazion contents. The incision does not leave visible scarring. Some eye doctors use corticosteroid injections to treat chalazia, but they may cause skin lightening.
A chalazion differs from a stye but can develop due to a stye. Styes are painful infections that cause gland swelling. Chalazia is not common in children and usually develops in adults between 30 and 50.
If you have recurrent chalazia in the same area, your eye doctor may perform a tissue biopsy. If the bump looks suspicious, a biopsy will help to rule out cancer. Fortunately, most eyelid growths are benign or harmless and can be treated at home.
You should never pop or push on a chalazion as this can injure the eye. Placing a warm compress over the eyelids three times a day will help to open up the blocked oil glands. A gentle eyelid massage for a few minutes each day can help. Good hygiene and following good eye health habits can help to prevent chalazia.
For more on how a chalazion is treated, visit Westchester Eyes at our office in Yonkers, New York. Call 914-586-EYES (3937) to book an appointment today.