A chalazion is a non-infectious, hard lump that forms on the eyelid.
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A chalazion can form when the oil produced from a gland of the eyelid thickens and can no longer flow. When the oil hardens, it blocks the gland and causes a lump to form in the eyelid. This condition can recur.
Factors that may increase your chance of a chalazion:
The initial symptom is a small swelling on the eyelid. It may look like a stye. It may or may not be painful. After a few days, the lump on the eyelid often begins to harden.
A chalazion can rarely cause complications, which may include:
- Localized infection at the site of the chalazion (stye)
- Visual problems due to the chalazion pushing against and distorting the shape of the eye
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. An eye exam will be done. Rarely, a sample of fluid from the chalazion is taken and tested in a lab.
A chalazion will often disappear on its own. If needed, treatment may include:
A warm compress is applied to the affected eyelid several times a day. Follow with gentle massage.
Corticosteroid is injected into the chalazion. This is done by an ophthalmologist, but is rarely required. Antibiotics may also be used if an infection (stye) develops.
An incision may be made near the chalazion to allow it to drain. The procedure is usually performed in the office with a local anesthetic. Surgery may be done if the chalazion does not respond to other treatments. It may also be considered if the chalazion is large, grows rapidly, or causes vision problems.
Eyelid hygiene can prevent the development of a chalazion:
- Always wash your hands before touching your eyes.
- Always use a clean facecloth when washing your face.
- Wash your eyelids with warm water and mild soap.
- Never squeeze or poke your eye.
- Do not rub your eye.
- Make sure your contacts are clean before putting them in.
Chalazion. American Optometric Association website. Available at: http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/chalazion?sso=y. Accessed December 14, 2017.
Chalazion. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115631/Chalazion. Updated March 2, 2016. Accessed December 14, 2017.
What are chalazia and styes? American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/chalazion-stye/index.cfm. Updated September 1, 2013. Accessed December 14, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 5/19/2015