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What Is A Chalazion?

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When one or more of the oil glands in your eyelid become blocked, they are supposed to shut down and stop producing oil; however, some inflamed oil glands leak oil beneath the skin, causing a stye or chalazion to form. A stye, or hordeolum, is a painful and inflamed lump that forms on the eyelid near the blocked oil gland. Whereas a chalazion is when the inflamed area is further from the eyelid margin but is not infected. The body views this collectionof oil as alien and thus tries to wall off the area from the rest of the body. This, then, results in the round lump we see.


To remove the chalazion or stye, we first try natural treatments such as warm compresses, gentle massage along the eyelid margin, and time. A patient should never try to pop these lesions because it will cause the oil to spread to other parts of the eyelid, creating a larger problem. However, sometimes they can spontaneously drain, which is why we always want to give them a little time to improve on their own. If the chalazion becomes seriously inflamed, there might be a bacterial component and we give our patients antibiotics.

If these standard forms of treatment do not resolve the inflammatory lesion after a month or so, patients will need to come into our office for a professional draining.


Common questions we’re asked about chalazia are: Why me? Why now?

Chalazia are most common in people with inflammatory conditions such as chronic blepharitis, acne rosacea, and seborrhea. Yet, a chalazion can occur without any of these conditions. Unfortunately, once one appears, more may follow. Many of our patients have experienced several more styes or chalazions after their first was successfully treated and drained. In fact, Dr. Scott reflects that he once treated a man who had eight chalazia on a single eyelid.


Keeping your eyelids clean is one of the best methods to avoid developing these inflamed lumps. Washing your face regularly can help with this, but using an eye scrub across the eyelids can also effectively clear the skin. 

In patients with a condition called blepharitis (inflamed eyelid margins), Ocusoft is a wonderful and common over-the-counter product to use for this purpose. Additionally, increasing omega-3 in your diet (fish, flax seeds, flax seed oils, and walnuts) and reducing unhealthy vegetable oils that are high in omega-6 is also recommended.