Your eyelids have small glands that produce oil to lubricate your eyes. When one of these glands becomes blocked, it can cause swelling and inflammation. This is called a chalazion. Chalazions can often be confused with a stye, which looks and feels similar. Styes, however, are caused by an infection of an eyelash follicle that becomes sore and swollen. A chalazion will tend to occur further down from the lash line than a stye and points towards the inside of the eyelid. In some cases, the entire eyelid swells with a chalazion, but you’ll notice a distinct tender spot.
Chalazions will often go away on their own if they are small and don’t cause symptoms. However, large chalazions can cause your vision to become blurry. There are a few different treatment methods available, and patients often benefit from a combination of these options:
- Warm compress. This easy, at-home method can be performed by soaking a clean, soft washcloth in hot water and holding it against your closed eye. This can be done for five to ten minutes a few times throughout the day. It’s important to repeatedly soak the washcloth so it stays hot. This, done for a few weeks, can help the chalazion disappear on its own. For additional at-home treatment, your eye doctor might recommend an antibiotic ointment.
- Surgical excision. In more severe cases where a large chalazion doesn’t respond to other treatment options, it can be surgically removed.
In most cases, chalazions are easily treated. However, they can reoccur for some patients, so you should be sure to work with your ophthalmologist who can perform a biopsy to check for more serious problems.
To look at your treatment options for chalazions, schedule an appointment with our eye doctors by calling or filling out our online form.