A chalazion (pronounced kuh-lay-zee-un) is an enlargement of an oil producing gland in the eyelid. It forms when the gland opening becomes clogged with oil secretions. It is not caused by infection from bacteria, and it is not cancerous.

About 25 percent of chalazia have no symptoms and will disappear without treatment. However, sometimes a chalazion may become red, swollen and tender. A large chalazion may also cause blurred vision by distorting the shape of the eye. Occasionally, a chalazion can cause the entire eyelid to swell suddenly.

Symptoms can be treated in a variety of ways:

Warm Compresses

A warm compress can help to clear the clogged gland. You can make a warm with compress using a dress sock and dry rice. Put the rice in the sock and tie it like a balloon on the open end. This can be warmed in the microwave (usually about 1 min), and will hold dry heat for about 10 minutes. This should be done 2-3 times daily and when the clogged gland opens, you may notice increased discharge from the eye, which should improve with time.

Antibiotic Ointments

An antibiotic ointment maybe prescribed if bacteria infect the chalazion.

Steroid Injections

A steroid injection is sometimes used to reduce inflammation of a chalazion and help it to clear faster.

Incision and Drainage

If all other treatment options fail, your ophthalmologist can perform a procedure to drain the clogged oil gland by making an incision in the back side of the eyelid and removing the solidified oil material that is clogging the tear duct. This is usually able to be done in the clinic.

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