A chalazion is a fluid filled lump usually between 2-8mm small. It is a common condition and can sometimes be referred to as a meibomian cyst or tarsal cyst. It is more common to have a chalazion on the upper eyelid and is possible to have several at the same time.
Under the inner surface of the eyelid there are tiny glands called Meibomian. These glands help to lubricate the eye by producing an oily fluid call meibum. If a gland is blocked the meibum cannot help in the formation of tears as normal. Instead the gland may leak into the eyelid tissue which then becomes inflamed. As a result of the inflammation the lump forms on the eyelid and becomes firm.
Some people are also more likely to suffer from a chalazion if they have any of the following conditions:
• Eye condition – blepharitis
• Skin conditions such as rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis
• Viral infections
If you have had a chalazion in the past you have a higher risk of getting another one. You may also increase your risk of getting a chalazion if you touch your eyelids with unclean hands, as the dirt can block your oil glands.
A small firm lump will develop on the upper eyelid, although sometime they can appear on the lower. You may find that your eyes are more watery than normal and in some cases your vision may be slightly blurred.
Most people find that the symptoms clear up by themselves without any treatment. However it can take up to six months for the chalazion to disappear.
If you are in discomfort, firmly holding a hot compress on the affected eye and slowly massaging it, can help relieve the symptoms. The warmth and pressure can help soften the fluid in the cyst. It is not recommended to use any antibiotic ointments or drops as they do not make any difference.
However, if the chalazion is bothersome and persistent a minor operation can be carried out under a local anaesthetic. Find out about surgery to remove a chalazia.