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 by following methods:

  • Hot compresses, although not a quick fix, are very helpful and should be started as soon as possible. Using hot towels is not very effective; rather, using a commercial product such as a Bruder mask or Therapearl Mask, will yield better results. These are heated in the microwave and provide sustained heat. They should be applied for five to ten minutes, three or four times a day. The majority of chalazions will disappear within a few weeks.
  • Surgical treatment may be required to remove large chalazions which do not respond to other treatments.

Chalazions usually respond well to treatment, although some people are prone to recurrences. If a chalazion recurs in the same place, your eye doctor may suggest a biopsy to rule out more serious problems.

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