A chalazion is a painless bump on the upper or lower eyelid. A chalazion results from healed internal styes that are no longer infectious. These cyst-like eyelid bumps develop around an oil gland in the eyelid that causes red and swollen eyelids.
A chalazion consists of pus and blocked fatty secretions that are originally for lubricating the eyes but can no longer drain out. Most chalazia drain and resolve on their own but you can speed up the healing process by applying a warm compress and massaging the eyelid.
Unfortunately, some chalazia persist for more than a week and grow large enough to look unappealing. A large chalazion also has a risk of pressing on the cornea which temporarily causes astigmatism and blurry vision.
It is difficult to pinpoint the cause of a chalazion but risk factors include rosacea and blepharitis. Rosacea is characterized by facial redness and swollen bumps under the skin and makes a person prone to eye problems such as blepharitis and chalazion.
Rosacea can affect the eyelids, conjunctiva, cornea, and sclera of the eyes. A form of rosacea that affects the eye and its surrounding tissues is called ocular rosacea.
If you develop a chalazion, it is best to see an eye doctor to help you plan the best treatment options. In addition to warm compresses, your doctor may prescribe a topical medication. If you are prone to blepharitis, routine cleaning of your eyelids especially before sleeping may also be a great help.
Small, unobtrusive eyelid bumps may require no treatment at all. However, some blockages causing chalazion may not clear up on their own and eventually become larger. In this case, you may need to undergo a simple in-office surgery to remove it.
An eye surgeon will be utilizing local anesthesia to numb the area before making a small incision. The cut is typically made from underneath the eyelid to drain the pus and fat in the chalazion without visible scarring.
An alternative to this procedure involves injecting corticosteroid into the chalazion to get rid of it. However, steroid injection poses a potential side effect that involves lightening of the surrounding skin which can be more obvious for dark-skinned people.
In rare cases where a chalazion reappears in the same spot of the eyelid or looks suspicious, the removed tissue may be sent for a biopsy to determine if there is any cancerous growth. Luckily, most bumps on eyelids are harmless and benign.