Oculase Articles

Chalazion: All your questions answered!

Mr Tariq Ayoub - 26 Jun 2022

Chalazion are very common and can be prevented and treated with simple measures. We discuss all your chalazion questions and bust some myths about chalazion in this article.


What is a chalazion?

A chalazion (also often called an eyelid cyst or a stye) forms due to blockage of one of the tiny oil glands in the eyelid. It usually appears as a painless, hard lump in the eyelid although sometimes it can be tender and painful.


How do you get rid of a chalazion?

Regular warm compress of the eyelids can reduce the size of a chalazion. However, it can take several weeks to completely disappear. Definitive treatment of chalazions involves removal through a tiny cute inside the eyelid. This does not leave a scar on the skin. Rarely it may have to be removed through a tiny incision on the front of the eyelid which would be closed with dissolvable stitches.


Can chalazion go away on its own?

Warm compress of the eyelids for 5-10 mins 3-4 times/day can reduce the size of a chalazion. The warm compress softens the hard oil blocking the ducts allowing them to drain and heal. However, it can from a few weeks to several months before it completely disappears.


What happens if you don’t remove a chalazion?

Usually, a chalazion will disappear as it heals by itself. However, this can take many months and could cause infections, discomfort and affect your appearance during this time.


What causes a chalazion to flare up?

There are several oil glands in the eyelids that secrete oils to moisten and protect your eyes. If these oils become thick and waxy, the glands can block and swell into a hard lump (chalazion). Sometimes the hard lump (chalazion) can flare-up and get infected causing pain and redness. You will need antibiotics to treat such a flare-up


Why do chalazions keeping coming back?

Blepharitis is a recurrent inflammation of the tiny gland in the eyelids. These inflamed glands can get blocked and cause multiple and recurrent chalazions. You must treat your blepharitis to prevent chalazion.


How can I prevent chalazion from returning?

Chalazions recur if you have a condition called blepharitis. Blepharitis can be treated with regular lid hygiene and massage of the eyelids. A more effective treatment for blepharitis is to have BlephEx treatment and IPL treatment. Read more about these treatments here.


What makes chalazion worse?

Chalazions are more likely if you have eyelid inflammation called blepharitis. Blepharitis is exacerbated by skin conditions such a seborrheic dermatitis and acne rosacea. Blepharitis can be managed with regular lid hygiene and massage. However, BlepEx or IPL treatments are more effective at treating blepharitis and related conditions.


Can a chalazion be permanent?

A chalazion can resolve with time or can be removed with surgery. As it is an eyelid cyst and not a tumour or a growth, it is not permanent. It does not affect your vision permanently.


Do chalazion’s pop?

Yes, chalazion’s can sometimes ‘pop’. The blocked gland forms a cyst that can discharge or burst spontaneously through the opening of the gland on the edge of the eyelid or rarely through the skin, as the skin on the eyelids is thin.


Can chalazions be removed naturally?

A chalazion may go away without treatment over a period of several months. However, regular warm compresses and massaging of the cyst will encourage the chalazion to discharge naturally through the under surface of the eyelid sooner.


Will eyedrops help a chalazion?

You may need to use antibiotic ointment or eyedrops if the chalazion is inflamed. Very rarely you may have to take antibiotic tablets if the chalazion becomes infected. If the chalazion becomes very large then you may need surgery to remove it.


Are you awake during chalazion surgery?

Chalazion surgery is usually performed under local anaesthetic as a day case procedure. As such you will be awake during the procedure. You can opt to have general anaesthesia if you prefer, however as chalazion surgery is not major surgery most people prefer local anaesthesia.


How much is the cost of chalazion surgery?

The cost of chalazion surgery is dependent on the number of chalazions you have and the number of eyelids involved. Contact us to discuss this further.


Do tea bags help Chalazions?

The initial treatment for chalazion is heat. Warm tea bag, a hot flannel and warm eyebags can all be used as warm compresses. However, the tea itself does not usually have any impact on the chalazion.


Should you massage your chalazion?

Yes, you should massage the chalazion but only after doing warm compress to liquify the hardened oils in the chalazion. Use your fingers to apply pressure to the cyst massaging upwards if it is on the lower lid and downwards if it’s on the upper lid. The aim of the massage is to encourage the cyst to discharge onto the surface of the eye so it can be wiped away. You should never squeeze the skin as the skin on the island is very thin and this can result in scarring if done repeatedly.


Which antibiotic is best for treating chalazion?

Antibiotics are typically not used to treat a chalazion. However, if the chalazion becomes infected or you develop a cellulitis then antibiotic ointments or tablets may be used. A range of antibiotics are available to treat an inflamed chalazion including non-prescription antibiotics which are available OTC such as chloramphenicol ointment and prescription medications which can be prescribed by your ophthalmologist such as penicillin and doxycycline.


Why isn’t my chalazion going away?

Often chalazions resolve with regular hot compress but this can take several months and rarely upto a year. However, if a chalazion has not resolved in 4-6 weeks or if it is bothering you then you will need surgery to have it removed. The surgery is a minor procedure with a tiny incision done on the under surface of the eyelid to drain the contents of the cyst. The surgery is not painful and it does not leave a scar on your skin.


Can a chalazion be cancerous?

Chalazions are not cancers and they will not spread to other parts of the body. However, if the chalazion recurs multiple times in exactly the same spot then your doctor may consider a biopsy to remove to rule out a type of cancer called sebaceous cell carcinoma. This is rare and usually occurs in the elderly.


Does salt water help chalazion?

Salt water itself does not help treat chalazions. However, warm salt water can assist by easing any discomfort. Using hot compresses is probably more effective, however, than the salt itself.


What’s inside a chalazion?

A chalazion is a blocked meibomian gland. The gland secretes oils that are naturally released on to the surface of the eye with your tears in order to lubricate it. These oils harden inside the blocked gland causing a chalazion.


Does apple cider get rid of a chalazion?

Apple cider in itself is not a treatment for a chalazion. Hot flannels and massaging the chalazion regular is an effective treatment for chalazion.


How would you get rid of a chalazion on your eyelid really fast?

There is no quick fix to removing a chalazion without surgery. The recommendation is to use warm compresses with a hot flannel or a heat mask for 5-10 mins 3-4 times/day. This should be used together with massage where pressure with the finger is applied on the cyst massaging downwards on the upper lid and upwards on the lower lid.


Does diet affect a chalazion?

Usually, diet does not affect a chalazion. However, one should always aim for a balanced and varied diet in order to maintain good health. There have been some unsubstantiated reports that a high dairy intake may result in blepharitis which can encourage chalazia to form.


How many days does a chalazion last?

A chalazion can last from anywhere between 10 days and several months. Regular hot compress and massage can help get rid of it faster. However, if it is large or persisting after 3-4 weeks or is unsightly to you, then you should consider surgery to get rid of it.


Is a chalazion contagious?

A chalazion is not contagious. It forms due to an inflammation of a blocked meibomian gland in the eyelid.


What type of doctor removes a chalazion?

Chalazion surgery is best performed by an oculoplastic surgeon who is specialised in the eyelids. The operation is something that they are very familiar with. You are likely to have the best possible outcome under their care. Mr. Ayoub is ophthalmic oculoplastic surgeon and has vast experience in dealing with chalazion. Book an appointment with him to have your chalazion removed.



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