A chalazion is a miniature cyst that is filled with fluid in the eyelid. It is a common condition and usually forms on the superior eyelid. In some circumstances, a few cysts can develop at once in more than one eyelid.
Possible causes of a chalazion
It is important to note that there are small glands found beneath the inner surface of the eyelid which are called Meibomian glands. These are responsible for producing meibum which is an oily fluid that lubricates the eyes.
If obstructed, meibum could not flow into the tears. This results to a cyst and there is leakage into the eyelid tissue which becomes inflamed. After some time, the soreness causes the development of a lump in the eyelid that is firm and solid and can last for a long time.
The condition is prevalent among those with blepharitis or skin conditions such as eczema since the meibum tends to be dense in these conditions, thus the gland is prone to blockage.
What are the indications?
- Small-sized lump on the eyelid
- In some cases, there is minor pain or irritation especially if it has only started to form and eventually settles
- If the lump is infected, it becomes red, swollen and painful (rare)
- Vision is not affected but if the lump is large enough, it can press on the eyeball and disrupt with normal vision.
In some individuals, chalazion settles without any treatment but it usually takes within 2-6 months. There are also treatment choices that can manage a chalazion that causes issues such as:
- Warm compress can be applied to ease the discomfort. Use a clean flannel that was soaked in warm water, wring out and place gently against the closed eye for 5-10 minutes. Sometimes, the pressure and warmth is enough to soften the cyst to promote easy drainage.
- Massage the cyst after applying a warm compress to allow drainage. This can be performed in a gentle manner using a clean finger or a cotton bud in the direction of the eyelashes.
- Cleanse the eyelid at least 2 times in a day to get rid of dead skin cells and grease that adds up to the formation of the cysts. You can utilize a diluted baby shampoo in warm water.
- A minor surgery is a possible option if chalazion is persistent or troublesome.