Our bodies undergo numerous changes as we age, some of which can affect our eyes. One such condition that can become more prevalent with age is a chalazion, a lump in the eyelid caused by a blocked oil gland.
While chalazia can occur at any age, older adults may experience it more frequently due to age-related changes in the skin and glands around the eyes.
Let’s learn more about chalazions, its relationship with aging, and how age-related factors influence their treatment.
What Is Chalazion?
A chalazion is a small, usually painless, lump or swelling that appears on your upper or lower eyelid. It is caused by a blocked meibomian gland, an oil gland in the eyelid. The symptoms of chalazions include:
- A painless bump in your eyelid, usually on the upper lid
- Mild irritation, causing your eyes to water.
- Redness, swelling, soreness, or pain in the initial stages
- Increased tearing
- Blurred vision when a large chalazion pushes on the eyeball.
Age-Related Factors That Can Lead to Development of Chalazion
As we age, our bodies undergo various changes that can affect the health of our eyes. Some of the factors that can lead to chalazions in older adults include:
- Reduced Immunity: As you age, your immune system becomes weaker, making you more susceptible to bacterial infections.
- Skin Changes: Older adults are more prone to skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea, which can lead to chalazion.
- Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: The meibomian glands responsible for producing oils to lubricate the eyes may not produce the required amount as we age, leading to chalazion.
- Inflammation: Chronic inflammation due to age-related illnesses such as arthritis can also lead to chalazion.
Treating Chalazions in Older Adults: Age-Related Considerations
Treatment for older adults requires special considerations due to certain age-related factors. Here are some key points to keep in mind when addressing chalazions in older adults:
Older adults’ skin tends to be thinner and more fragile than that of younger individuals. As such, when applying warm compresses—one of the primary treatments for chalazion—care must be taken.
The heat from the compress helps to liquefy the blockage within the gland, promoting drainage.
However, the compress must not be too hot to avoid causing burns or discomfort. It is also important to ensure the compress is clean to prevent introducing any additional bacteria to the eye area.
Due to potentially slower healing times in older adults, it may take longer for a chalazion to resolve. While it can be frustrating to wait for the chalazion to heal, patience is crucial. Over time, most chalazion will drain and heal on their own.
In fact, rushing the process or attempting to squeeze or pop the chalazion can lead to further complications, including potential infections or damage to the eyelid.
If antibiotic or steroid drops or ointments are prescribed as part of the treatment, it’s important to consider any other medications the individual takes to avoid potential interactions. Older adults often take multiple medications, which increases the risk of drug interactions.
Hence, informing the ophthalmologist of all current medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, is critical. This will allow them to assess the risk of interactions and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.
In some cases, a chalazion may need to be surgically removed. This is usually considered if the chalazion doesn’t respond to other treatments, is exceptionally large, or affects vision.
For older adults, any surgical procedure needs careful consideration due to potential risks associated with anesthesia and slower post-operative healing.
To prevent the development of chalazion in older adults, it’s important to practice proper eye hygiene. This includes washing your eyelids, avoiding touching your eyes with dirty hands, and keeping your eyes clean.
Seniors can also maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly to keep their immune systems strong and avoid eye infections.
Chalazion Treatment in Miramar, FL
At Miramar Eye Institute, we regularly treat patients with chalazion. Our team, led by Dr. Kenneth Karp, is dedicated to providing you with excellent eye care services. We offer numerous conservative methods of treating an infected chalazion, including antibiotics and other medications.
If these treatments fail to remove the chalazion, Dr. Karp may recommend a drainage and excision procedure, which can be done in our office under local anesthesia.
Don’t let a chalazion damage your vision or affect your quality of life. Reach out to the professionals at Miramar Eye Institute today by calling us at (954) 437-4316 or request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!