“Is it serious?” That’s probably the No. 1 question we get about chalazia (eyelid cysts). The usual answer is that it depends.
Most often, only minor medical care is needed to treat a chalazion. This may include warm compresses to the affected eye and medicated eyedrops, ointment, or pills. In some cases, surgical drainage and excision (removal) of the chalazion may be recommended.
Should the chalazion become infected, however, the potential spread of that infection is considered a serious condition and should be treated. Left untreated, such an infection may ultimately disfigure your eyelid and damage your eyesight.
Everything You Wanted to Know About Chalazia
A chalazion is a slow-growing lump that forms on the inside edge of your eyelid. It occurs when the oil glands in your eyelid become blocked, resulting in an inflammatory response. Oil produced by these glands is needed to help keep the eye’s surface moist.
At Miramar Eye Institute, we regularly treat patients with chalazia – because these eyelid cysts are the most common type of eyelid lesion. It most frequently occurs among adults between 30-50 years old. Here is what else you need to know about chalazia:
- What it looks like? Eyelid that is swollen; red bump on the eyelid; watery eyes
- What it feels like? Warm, irritated, and tender (if there is pain, it tends to be minor)
- Where it occurs? Along the inside edge of the upper or lower eyelid
- Contagious? No
- What causes it? Blocked oil glands, irritation, or infection in the eyelid
Although rare, a large chalazion may damage your cornea, which can affect your vision.
When a chalazion becomes infected, the eyelid swelling may spread, making it difficult to open the eye. In these cases, the pain will increase, and you may develop a fever.
Chalazion vs Stye
It can sometimes be difficult to tell a chalazion and stye (sty) apart. A stye is a bacterial infection that also develops at the edge of the eyelid, although nearer to the eyelash follicles. The most notable differences between a stye and chalazion include that a stye is typically painful and may feel scratchy or as if there is something in your eye. A crust may form along the edge of the eyelid. Styes also are faster growing than chalazia. A stye may grow for a few days before bursting. In some cases, a stye can develop into a chalazion.
How Chalazia Are Treated
A routine, uninfected chalazion can last anywhere from 7-10 days to several months. There are self-care methods you can use to speed the healing process – warm compresses, for example. These help by softening oil gland blockages, helping to restore oil drainage from the glands.
Perhaps the most important thing when you have a chalazion is to avoid certain actions, including:
- Do not squeeze or attempt to pop it – this could potentially spread an infection, which could have serious consequences
- Do not wear contact lenses
- Avoid eye makeup, such as eyeliner, eye shadow, and mascara
- Avoid touching the area
If your chalazion persists past a week or two, becomes bigger, or is unsightly, you’ll want to see a trusted ophthalmologist. There are numerous conservative methods of treating an infected chalazion, including antibiotics and other medications – in the form of eyedrops, ointment, or pills.
If these treatments fail to get rid of the chalazion, Dr. Kenneth Karp may recommend a drainage and excision procedure. This is done right here in the Miramar Eye Institute office, with a local anesthetic.
Eyelid Cyst Removal in Miramar, FL
Do you notice a red, inflamed area on your eyelid? You may have a chalazion, a cyst that is the most common type of lesion affecting the eyelid. When a problem occurs that close to your eyes, make sure you’re protecting your eye health and vision by contacting a board-certified ophthalmologist, like Dr. Karp at Miramar Eye Institute. Call us in South Florida at (954) 437-4316 or simply request an appointment now.