Along the upper and lower lids are located 16 small oil glands that produce the top layer of the tear film that protects and lubricates the eyeball. If one of these glands becomes blocked or inflammed, a small lump forms. This is called a CHALAZION (chalazia, plural).
Chalazia may vary in size from small, almost invisible lumps, to rather large masses as big as a little fingernail. Sometimes tender and/or red in their early stages, they are later painless and frequently will form a firm lump in the lid. This lump can distort the eyeball, causing blurred vision if left untreated.
Chalazia are NOT caused by infection. However, they may become a site for infection once they have become established.
The exact CAUSE remains undetermined but one theory is an imbalance in the stomach/GI microbiome. . Several conditions are associated with chalazia: meibomitis, seborrhea, chronic lid inflammation, dry eyes, rosacea and acne. Once a chalazion has formed, the chances of getting another one in the next two years are high.
To help resolve the chalazion do the following:
Hot packs* with vigorous lid massage for 3 minutes three times per day for up to 6 weeks. Antibiotic pills may be needed. A prescription is required for these pills.
Specialized in-clinic heat treatments of the chalazion speed the resolution.
If a chalazion persists, a simple in‑office surgical procedure can be performed to remove it. The chalazion is drained from the inside of the lid after a small injection of a local anesthetic. There is no visible scar and healing is rapid and relatively painless.
Regular gentle lid and lash cleaning may help to reduce the risk of recurrence. Regular follow-ups with your optometric physician to treat and/or prevent dry eyes and lid inflammation may be helpful. If appropriate, oral non-prescription Omega 3 DHA supplements (fish oil, flaxseed oil, etc.) can help to prevent recurrences. In some cases, oral medicines can help prevent recurrences.
*This can be a bean bag, rice bag or commercial heat pack from the pharmacy. Make sure to heat the bag/pack as warm as you can stand on the back of your head, but no hotter.