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CHALAZION

What is a chalazion?Chalazion

The term chalazion (pronounced Kah-la...ze-on) is derived from the Greek word meaning small lump.  It refers to a cystic swelling with chronic inflammation in an eyelid.  A gradual enlargement can be felt near the margin of the lid due to the swelling in one of the eyelid oil glands (meibomian).  Occasionally swelling of the entire eyelid may occur suddenly.  When the chalazion is small and without symptoms, it may disappear on its own.  More often it remains, and with increased size, may cause blurred vision by distorting the shape of the eye.  Ordinarily, the inflammation is a reaction to the trapped oil secretions and is not caused by bacteria, although it may become secondarily infected by bacteria.  Chalazions tend to point toward the inside of the eyelid.

How are chalazions treated?
Treatment may invovle any one or combinations of the following:

  • Antibiotic and/or steroid drops or injections
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Warm compresses, massage or expression of the glandular secretions
  • Surgical incision or excision

Treatment is usually curative, although certain individuals are prone to recurrence.  Recurrences at  the same place may require a biopsy with pathologial confirmation to make certain that a more serious problem does not exist.