A chalazion is a fluid filled swelling or a small cyst that measures about 2-8mm in size. It may be firm or soft. It can occur on one or both eyelids together on either upper or lower side. It is not a tumor and does not cause any permanent changes in the eye sight. It is usually common and goes away without any operation or surgery. A chalazion is also called as tarsal cyst, meibomian cyst or conjunctival granuloma.
The eyelid glands are known as meibomian glands, tarsal or palpebral glands, or tarsoconjunctival glands. These are about 30 to 40 glands on each side of the eye lid. These glands lubricate the surface of the eye by producing a thick liquid secretion which is a mixture of oil and mucus. This secretion is called as sebum. These glands or tiny sebaceous openings are present just behind the eye lashes at the lid margins, on both upper and lower eyelids. Sometimes these narrow openings of meibomian glands can get blocked due to hardening of the sebaceous liquid near the openings and stop the fluid to escape which swells into a cyst.
Chalazion is different from styes or hordeola as these are subacute and nodules are usually painless. Moreover, it affects the inner side of the lid mostly rather than the lid margin. In normal cases, a chalazion does not get infected, but over time, inflammation causes a granuloma or a nodule to form that is a lump in a firm condition that takes a long time to get finish. This lump is actually a chalazion. It mostly affects those people who have skin diseases like eczema or blepharitis.
Some signs and symptoms are as follows :
.Swelling and irritation on the eyelid
.Tenderness of eyelid
.Sensitivity to the light
.Heaviness of the eyelid
As the chalazion is not malignant and contagious, so the treatment of this cyst is quite simple in some cases i.e., when chalazion doesn’t cause problem, it can be cured with time (between 2-6 months), as about 25 – 50% of people get cured without any treatment. If the chalazion is causing problem, then a method known as hot compress can be applied for the treatment. In this method, just hold a clean flannel dipped in hot water and put it on the affected eye gently, but firmly. Do this for 5-10 minutes and repeat it for about 3-4 times in a day. The warmth and the pressure softens the cyst which helps it to drain easily. After this hot compress a gentle massage with clean finger can help the cyst to drain and finish. Other than this, daily cleaning the eyes with water or with a mild baby shampoo can help to remove the grease and grime which allows the cyst to form. After all these treatments, if the cyst is still persists, then surgery is the only treatment to get rid of it. An operation under local anaesthetic can be done. A small cut is made inside the eyelid after making it numbed, and then the cyst contents are released. Moreover, the antibiotic drops and ointments are used to finish the cyst.
Usually the cyst does not cause a major problem, but if it gets infected then it can spread on the whole eyelid and the surrounding tissues of the eye. This can result in difficulty in opening the eyes as the eyelid becomes red and swollen.
Moreover, it can cause severe pain along the fever. In this condition, it is important to see the doctor. However, it may cause blur vision which becomes normal once the cyst is removed.
The recurrence of a chalazion is very rare, but in some people it may develop again. This recurrence can be stopped by using method of hot compressing and massaging daily.