If you experience a knot or a lump resting on any of your eyelids, that is called a chalazion. It is basically formation of a sebaceous cyst when your meibomian gland is blocked. The inflammation or the swelling can sometimes fade away without any particular treatment. The term used for multiple chalazions is Chalazia. Meibomian glands are the ones that produce the tear cover for the eye and if they are blocked, it results in the swelling of the eyelid.
It seems there are so many similarities between a chalazion and a stye that they are often confused. The basic difference between the two is the presence of infection. When the infection lies in the eyelid itself, it is an external stye. When the infection lies in the meibomian gland, it is an internal stye. Chalazions can further grow into styes. Onlymyhealth editorial team talked to Dr. Sameer Kaushal, Head Opthomology, Artemis Hospitals, Gurgaon, about the symptoms, causes and treatment of chalazion.
A chalazion develops as a small painless lump or swelling on the upper or lower part of your eyelid. This eye condition can have an impact on both upper and lower eyelids and can even develop in both eyes at the same time. It depends on the size and location of the chalazion, if it will cause blurring or blocking the vision. According to Dr. Sameer, the most common symptoms of chalazion are:
- Lump or swelling on the eyelid, which may have pus
- Watery eye
- Light sensitivity
Caused by a blockage in one of the tiny meibomian glands of the upper and lower eyelids, chalazia is found more commonly in people with inflammatory conditions like seborrhea, acne, rosacea, chronic blepharitis, or long-term inflammation of the eyelid. It is also more prevalent in people with viral conjunctivitis or any infection in the inside of the eyes and eyelids. Inflammation or viruses affecting the meibomian glands are the major causes of chalazia. A recurring or unusual chalazia may be a symptom of more serious conditions, but such cases are few and far. The main risk factors of chalazion are:
- Sebborheic dermatitis
- Poor eye care
- Chronic blepharitis
- Eyelid trauma
- Viral infections
According to Dr. Sameer, chalazion should be treated medically only if it does not get cleared on its own in a few weeks. If the chalazion does not disappear with time and home remedies, the doctor will suggest you to take a corticosteroid injection or a surgical intervention. Both injection and the surgery are helpful in chalazion treatment. Meanwhile, you also have to make sure to not squeeze or pop out the chalazion, as it can put you at higher risk of having an eye infection. But, there are many other safe methods to help with drainage and heal the lump quickly. Applying a warm compression on your eye lid can help in reducing the swelling for some time. Here are some tips to prevent this eye condition:
- Wash your eyes regularly
- Avoid wearing too much eye makeup
- Wear sunglasses or face shield to protect eyes from dust
- Do not rub your eyes
- Keep your hands clean
What is the difference between a stye and chalazion?
A lot of people are not able to tell stye and chalazion apart as both of them look like a bump or swelling near the edge of the eyelid. It can be difficult to differentiate between the two and one can get confused easily. A stye is an eye infection that causes a soft red lump on the eyelid. In most cases, styes develop on the edge of the eyelid. When a stye develops inside the eyelid, it is called an internal hordeolum. A chalazion is a lump in the eyelid. Styes can be caused by an eyelash follicle that can get swollen. On the other hand, chalazia is a bump on the eyelid that can be caused when an oil producing gland becomes swollen or oil gets collected in the opening.
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