A chalazion is a fairly common eyelid condition. It is a chronic inflammation in the glands of the eyelids. It is when a small cyst forms in the upper or lower eyelid, though it is more common in the upper eyelid. Under the inner surface of the eyelids, tiny glands are present that produce an oily fluid, called sebum, which lubricates the eyes. A chalazion occurs when one of these glands become clogged, disabling the fluid from escaping, therefore creating a cyst. Specifically, when the meibomian gland opening is blocked with oil, a chalazion occurs. Chalazion is also called meibomian cyst or tarsal cyst.
Chalazion is different from a sty. The latter pertains to a small collection of pus or abscess that typically appears at the base of an eyelash or under or inside the eyelid.A chalazion is usually painless and not infected by bacteria, whereas a sty may be painful and typically infected by a Staphylococcus bacterium. Moreover, a chalazion may result from a sty.
Signs and Symptoms of Chalazion
A chalazion is generally evident. However, its appearance is often confused with those of a sty. The following symptoms are the commonly associated accompanying symptoms of chalazion:
- Small, mildly painful or painless cyst that usually develops on the side of the eyelid
- Inflammation within the gland and the eyelid
- Warm and tender
- Does not affect the sight
- If infected, swollen and painful
- May sometimes develop after a sty
First Aid Treatment for Chalazion
A chalazion will typically disappear within a month after occurring even without medical treatment. However, first aid home treatment may promote drainage of the fluid and healing. This can also help decrease consciousness from the cysts near the eye. The following hints should not be used for medical advice or substituted for medical treatment:
- Place warm compresses over the eyelid for 10-15 minutes. Do this at least four times a day to soften the hardened oils that blocked the duct and promote fluid drainage. Do not use compresses hotter than the hand can handle.
- Lightly massage the area a few times a day, preferably after applying warm compress.
- Do not attempt to pop or squeeze the chalazion.
- Avoid putting eye makeups to avoid infection.
- If the chalazion continually grows in size, surgery may be required to remove the chalazion.
How to Prevent a Chalazion
The following hints do not guarantee complete prevention of chalazion but may reduce chances of developing a chalazion.
- Clean the eyelid twice a day to remove grease that may contribute to formation of cysts.
- Apply warm compresses to the eyelids for five minutes before bedtime to avoid clogging of glands.
- Avoid touching the eyes and surrounding areas.
Chalazion, although it is not a medical emergency, should still be treated to reduce discomfort to the person. To learn how to treat chalazion and other eye-related injuries or conditions, enroll in First Aid Courses.