A chalazion is a swelling in the eyelid caused by inflammation of one of the small oil producing glands located in the upper and lower eyelids. A chalazion is sometimes confused with a stye, which also appears as a lump in the eyelid, but is an infection of a lash follicle that forms a red, sore lump. Chalazions tend to occur farther from the edge of the eyelid than styes and tend to “point” toward the inside of the eyelid. Sometimes a chalazion can cause the entire eyelid to swell suddenly, but usually there is a definite tender point.
When a chalazion is small and without symptoms, it may disappear on its own. If the chalazion is large, it may cause blurred vision. Chalazions are treated with any or a combination of the following methods:
- Warm compresses can be applied. The simplest way is to hold a clean washcloth, soaked in hot water, against the closed lid. Do this for five to ten minutes, three or four times a day. Repeatedly soak the washcloth in hot water to maintain adequate heat. The majority of chalazions will disappear within a few weeks. Sometimes antibiotic ointments are used in combination with warm compresses.
- Surgical incision or excision may be used to remove large chalazions which do not respond to other treatments.
- Chalazions usually respond well to treatment, although some people are prone to recurrences.
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