Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

A chalazion is a mass or cyst found in the upper or lower eyelid. It is benign,which means that it is not cancer. Chalazions are often chronic and canrecur frequently.

What is going on in the body?

A chalazion starts with inflammation of the meibomian gland. This is an eyegland that makes a substance that keeps the eyelids separated. If theeyelids stick together, one of the tear ducts can become blocked. This causes the eyelidto become inflamed, and the chalazion develops. This condition may take afew days to a few weeks to develop.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Chalazions are usually caused by a buildup of secretions in themeibomian gland that form a cyst. Chalazions occur most often in adults. They maybe linked with other skin conditions, such asseborrheic dermatitis,blepharitis,and rosacea.

Symptoms & Signs

What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?

Symptoms of a chalazion include a swelling in the upper or lower lid,which may also become red. Usually these masses are not painful. If a bump in the uppereyelid becomes large enough, it can cause blurred vision. Other symptoms are facialswelling and watery eyes.

Diagnosis & Tests

How is the condition diagnosed?

A healthcare provider can make the diagnosis of chalazion by looking atthe eyelid and feeling the mass.

Prevention & Expectations

What can be done to prevent the condition?

Good eyelid hygiene will help prevent chalazions. The lashes and eyelidsshould be cleaned daily and all eye makeup completely removed.

What are the long-term effects of the condition?

If the chalazion is left untreated, the eyelid can be permanently scarred,resulting in lost or crooked eyelashes. A large, untreated chalazion can causeastigmatismand blurred vision.

What are the risks to others?

A chalazion is not contagious and presents no risk to others.

Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

Most chalazions go away on their own in a few weeks or months. If not,hot packs used for 10 minutes four times a day may help reduce the chalazion.Antibiotic ointments or drops, with or without a steroid, may help it resolve. Oralantibiotics are not usually given for this problem.

If the chalazion is quite large or has not responded to treatment, it may beremoved surgically. Localanesthesia is used, and the lid is usually turned inside out with a lid clamp.This allows the doctor to drain the lesion and completely remove it from the underside of the lid.Then the doctor applies a pressure bandage with antibiotic ointment. This bandage must be kept in place for several hours.More antibiotic ointment can be used for 4 to 5 days. Rarely, a corticosteroid medicineis injected into the chalazion.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Side effects depend on the treatment used. Ointments and eye dropsmay cause local irritation. Surgery carries a risk of infection, bleeding, and further eyeproblems.

What happens after treatment for the condition?

If a chalazion occurs repeatedly or has a solid appearance, abiopsymay be done. This will help rule out an extremely rare cancercalled sebaceous gland carcinoma.

How is the condition monitored?

Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcareprovider.

Article type: xmedgeneral