What Is A Chalazion, And What To Do To Treat This Eyelid Condition

Lifestyle & Health

What is a chalazion?

A chalazion is a bump or more correctly a cyst which gradually forms due to a blockage of the oil glands. They appear most commonly in the middle of either eyelid accompanied by redness of the area. Chalazia (interestingly enough, the correct plural) are mostly harmless and always painless. They shouldn't be confused with styes which appear suddenly and are quite painful.

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This condition got its strange name "chalazion" from the Greek word 'khalazion' which means small hailstone. The name is rather evident and refers to the lump which appears on the eyes. The lump itself forms as a result of inflammation and the obstruction of the sebaceous glands. These glands, located in it the eyelids, are responsible for keeping the eye oiled. The position of the glands inside the eyelid differentiates the superficial and deep chalazia.

A chalazion is not an infection of the eye, although it sometimes can form after an infectious condition (i.e., stye). The lump is filled with pus and lipids (secretions of fat) which is the body's inflammatory reaction to the blockage. Chalazia are neither tumorous nor malignant, however, in case of recurrence a piece of tissue should be sent on tests to rule out any tumorous growth.

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How to treat it.

Small, unobtrusive chalazia will usually fade away on its own gradually as it had appeared. Larger bumps which irritate the eye or are cosmetically unpleasant need to be treated by a medical professional.

Chalazia are mostly treated with non-invasive methods such as the application of warm compresses. Warm compresses treat the inflammation by inducing circulation in the area thus provoking drainage of the built-up fluids in the eyelid. Antibiotics to ward of infections and ointments to relieve discomfort are prescribed by doctors in addition to warm compresses.

In case of enduring chalazia, minor surgery is the best choice. The operation is performed under local anesthesia, and the affected gland is removed with a small incision on the inside of the lid. The surgery doesn't leave any permanent damage since eyelid movement is left intact and only one out of forty glands is removed. Furthermore, the use of the eye and regular eye lubrication continue generally after a short period of recovery.

Source: WebMD, Medscape, MedicineNet

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This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.

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