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When the oil gland in an eyelid becomes clogged, a swollen, red lump called a chalazion may begin to form. Although many report little to no pain, a chalazion can be tender to the touch.
Inflammation and enlargement of the bead-like bump can put pressure on the eye and create slight discomfort for the individual. In more serious cases, a chalazion may even cause blurry vision and lead to complete swelling of the eyelid.
Some risk factors may predispose certain individuals to suffering chalazia (plural for chalazion), including:
Other underlying causes attributed to chalazia are as follows:
When a chalazion presents itself on the eyelid, various symptoms and signs may develop. The reddish cyst may cause tearing, light sensitivity, and the sensation of eye obstruction (partial or full blockage of vision).
Swelling is usual among those who develop a chalazion. However, irritation and redness of that small area may spread across the entire eyelid.
A chalazion is generally painless, and many do not become aware of the cyst until it is more visible and enlarged.
Even though the round mass will continue growing, skin around this area can still fold easily over the swelling.
If individuals do not receive treatment for the chalazion, they run the risk of experiencing blurry vision and developing astigmatism (a distortion of the cornea’s shape due to pressure placed by the eye cyst).
For those who notice a lump in the eyelid, it may be difficult to assess whether the mass is a chalazion or stye. There are certain characteristics that can distinguish one from the other.
A stye can be a painful infection that arises in one of the oil glands in the eyelid. It will usually grow at the edge of the eyelid and cause swelling.
On the other hand, a chalazion tends to be painless despite any onset of swelling. In the rarest of cases, it may cause inflammation of the entire eyelid. However, this observed characteristic appears more often in those who suffer from a stye.
Additionally, in contrast to a stye, a chalazion will develop farther back on the eyelid and remain present for a couple of months if no treatment is administered.
To diagnose a chalazion properly, it is important to see an eye care professional.
An eye doctor will consider many factors when reviewing a potential case of chalazia, such as:
In cases in which lesions appear in the eye region, it is possible that a chalazion is a misdiagnosis.
Should lesions occur often in the same area, do not respond to treatment, or are strange in appearance, individuals should raise such concerns to their ophthalmologist. The lesion may indicate a separate underlying health issue.
Some of the medical conditions that may lead to a misdiagnosis include:
If your eye care specialist determines you have a chalazion, several treatments are available to speed up recovery.
In the case that you should not undergo any treatment, a chalazion should completely disappear on its own within a few months.
Using a warm, clean washcloth, hold it to your eyelid for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat this action 3 to 5 times per day to help open and clear the clogged oil gland. You can also massage around the region with your finger cleaned to help the gland drain itself.
Wash away any eye drainage with eye wipes, or water and a gentle, mild soap.
To minimize the risk of further irritation, do not use eye make-up or contact lenses. Do not also attempt to squeeze or pop the chalazion, as it may worsen the problem.
If the chalazion is associated with a bacterial infection in the surrounding eyelid tissues, your ophthalmologist may prescribe antibiotics to treat the condition.
Depending on the severity of swelling, your eye doctor may administer a steroid shot (cortisone) to reduce inflammation of the eye region.
Drainage of the chalazion may occur if the lump impacts your vision or does not disappear. Such type of surgery is performed under local anesthesia in the doctor’s office but may be done under general anesthesia for younger children.
Should the chalazion be recurrent, your eye doctor may perform a biopsy to rule out any further, potentially life-threatening medical conditions.
With a few, basic actions, you can prevent developing a chalazion. Here is a brief overview of some tips that can keep you chalazion-free:
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