Chalazion in eye is often a painless, non-infectious bump on the eyelids which mostly occur due to obstruction of ducts.
Our eyelids are provided structural support by tarsal plates. These plates consist of dense connective tissue and contain meibomian glands on both upper and lower eyelids.
Meibomian glands secretes “meibum”, an oily substance that contributes to prevent evaporation of eye tear film.
Sometimes; due to any infection or some other cause, the meibomian glands at the edge of the eyelids margin got inflamed or blocked. Then the contents of glands i.e. meibum starts releasing into tarsal plates or surrounding eyelid soft tissues causing inflammatory reaction. Thus, this accumulation due to blocked meibomian gland is present as chalazion. It is often known as tarsal cyst or meibomian cyst.
It can occur in one or both eyes. Both upper and lower eyelids may be affected. Commonly, the upper eyelid is more involved because the upper eyelid contains more meibomian glands than lower eyelids.
At the same time, more than one chalazion can be present in the eyelid. The term for multiple chalazion is chalazia.
Sometimes, people often get confused between stye and chalazion. Though, both of them are bumps that appear near the eyelids edge. Basic difference between them is that chalazion is caused by an inflammation of the eyelids oil glands, whereas stye is often caused by bacteria which infect the eyelid root or a hair follicle. Styes are often painful but chalazion are not. Learn more about stye here.
Causes and Risk factors of chalazion
It mostly occurs due to blockage of tiny meibomian glands present in the upper and lower eyelids. Rarely, an infection causes chalazion.
Following are the risk factors of developing chalazion.
- Poor eye hygiene
- Chronic blepharitis(inflammation of eyelids)
- Have chalazion before
- Viral infection
- Viral conjunctivitis
Furthermore, it is more commonly seen in people with inflammatory conditions like acne rosacea and seborrhea too.
Initially or in an earlier stage, it is seen as swollen, red or inflamed areas of eyelid or even pain when you touch. After a few days, this can develop into painless and slow growing lump.
One can experience the following symptoms.
- Painless swelling of eyelid
- Increased tearing and irritation
- Heaviness of eyelids
- May experience blurry vision if chalazion is big enough to press on eyelid
Eye care specialists will simply diagnose this by visual examination of the eyelids.
They will also ask you the symptoms that you experience because this will help them to rule out this condition. Specialists will ask you about your past ocular history as well as general health.
Furthermore, no special tests are performed for diagnosis of chalazion.
Basically, small chalazion are often ignored or require minimum treatment as they tends to go away on their own within few weeks. But make sure not to squeeze it because this act of squeezing may increase the risk of infection.
To speed up the healing process you can apply following points.
This will help a lot. The act of warm compression to the affected eye will help to soften the oil blocking ducts. This help to open the duct and drain, which will help to relieve irritation.
You can apply this four times(session) a day. Make sure you will do this for atleast 10-15 minutes in each session.
Gentle massage and lid hygiene
Gentle massage is okay. But make sure that your hands are clean enough because this can increase the chance of infection. You should properly clean your eyelids.
You can apply gentle massage several times a day because this can help to drain the oil ducts more successfully. Once it starts to drain, make sure to clean your lids properly.
Furthermore, if condition is same afterall doing warm compression as well as massage; then you require visit to eye hospital or eye centers.
After examination, eye doctor may prescribe eye drops or ointments depending upon the severity. They can even recommend oral antibiotics or can give corticosteroid injection to some people in order to reduce swelling.
If condition is persistent and symptomatic then doctor may schedule for surgery so as to drain it using local anaesthesia.
If chalazion re-occur again and again then it is most important to take biopsy of the lump. Biopsy is simply removing a sample of tissue so as to determine the signs of more serious condition.