What Is A Chalazion?
A chalazion is a small lump that forms on the upper or lower aspect of the inside of the eye. It occurs in the eyelid usually due to oils blocking its glands. The affected glands may be the meibomian gland or the gland of Zeis. Usually, it occurs in the middle of the eye. Actually, the word Chalazion originates from the Greek word Khalazion meaning hailstone, pimple or tumor in the eye. The real-life chalazion can be considered to be a pimple in the margin of the eyelid.
The differential diagnosis that may be a possibility along with chalazion is a stye or cellulitis. A stye, unlike a chalazion, is painful. And so is cellulitis. In addition to being painless, a chalazion usually follows a stye. Chalazions may present gradually over weeks and then go away without treatment. But if you face frequent occurrences of chalazia (the term for multiple chalazions) then you must see a doctor as soon as possible.
Causes Of Chalazion
Why do some people suffer from these swellings in the eye? Are they more common in the upper eyelid? Why do some people have it more often than others? Are environmental factors to blame? We try to answer these questions in the following segment of our discussion.
Blockage Of Meibomian Glands
Glands are structures in your body that secrete substances of vital importance and function. For example, the glands in your eyelids produce oils that protect the eyelid from dryness. However, when these glands become blocked as a result of infection, a chalazion or stye is formed in the eyelid.
Chalazion And Blepharitis
Blepharitis is the inflammation around the opening of the Meibomian glands just behind your eyelashes. A chalazion is more frequent amongst patients of Blepharitis. Chronic blepharitis is usually accompanied by recurrent chalazion.
Result Of Healed Internal Styes
Styes are nodules that form around the Meibomian gland in the eyelid. They form due to the blocking of oil gland and growth of bacteria inside. Upon healing, the stye is no longer infectious or painful. This painless stye has finally healed in the form of a chalazion. The contents of this chalazion are pus, dead bacteria, and fatty secretions/lipids. These secretions would normally serve to lubricate the eye but after the blockage, they fail to discharge normally. Sometimes, they do pour out and moisturize the eyelid especially if the eye is massaged gently.
Chalazia And Other Inflammatory Conditions
Chalazia are more common in patients of inflammatory conditions of the eye. For instance, if you suffer from blepharitis, seborrhea, ocular rosacea, viral conjunctivitis or inflammation of the eyelid, you are more likely to develop a chalazion as well. People who already have acne are also prone to developing a chalazion. Also, adults are more susceptible to this condition than children.
Symptoms Of Chalazion
A chalazion presents as a reddish round protruding nodule on the upper or lower eyelid of the eye. Its size varies from person to person. If it is very large and lasts for a long time, then you must see an eye doctor immediately. The symptoms of chalazion are listed below:
- A small bump on the eyelid
- Light sensitivity
- Mild irritation and tearing
- Swelling of the eyelid
- Soreness or discomfort
- Redness of the skin
- Watery eye
- Astigmatism and blurry vision
- Tender nodule in the eyelid
Treatment Options For Chalazion
A thorough eye exam is done to diagnose a chalazion. Oftentimes, a chalazion drains out on its own within a week or two. Its secretions spread out over the eyelid leaving it swollen for some time. However, if it doesn’t resolve by itself, you can choose from a wide range of treatment options.
Preventative Regimens For Persistent Chalazia
If you get a chalazion every now and then, your doctor would stipulate minor procedures such as scrubbing your eyelids, applying ointments on your lids and even oral medications if you suffer from an underlying condition. For instance, Doxycycline is the most commonly prescribed antibiotic for the treatment of blepharitis and Meibomian gland dysfunction. Sometimes, Tetracycline and minocycline, that belong to the same family of drugs, may also be prescribed.
Hot Compress To Drain A Chalazion
Apply a warm, moist compress gently on the cyst for 10 – 15 mins at least four times a day. If you have a chalazion, your doctor may suggest applying a warm compress on the superficial part of your eyelid. By doing so, you stimulate the oil from the blocked Meibomian gland to spill and drain out over the eyelid.
Corticosteroids For Uninfected Chalazia
If you suffer from an uninfected chalazion that is caused simply by the hardening of oils inside the glands, then your doctor may inject a corticosteroid into the cyst. This corticosteroid is Triamcinolone acetonide.
Chalazia that are smaller and rather unexceptional are usually left to resolve on their own. But if a lump persists and doesn’t go away by itself then it must be excised under local anesthetic.
Surgical Removal Of Chalazion
If you have an irritating and obstinate chalazion, your doctor would order a simple in-office surgical procedure. Surgery is usually performed to remove an infected cyst. The surgery is a day operation which means that you can go home on the same day. Firstly, the doctor applies an anesthetic via an injection into the eyelid. The anesthetic numbs the area such that you feel that something is being done in your eye region but you don’t feel pain. Then, he makes a cut 3mm long in your lid right above your cyst. If you have a small lump, the cut is made on the inside of the lid. But in the case of a large lump, it is made on the front. Finally, he removes the cyst and applies pressure to minimize blood loss.
There are very few stitches involved in this surgery. And when the cut is made on the inside of the lid, there are no permanent scars.
Home Remedies For Treating Chalazion
As chalazion doesn’t involve any infectious microbe, it doesn’t require a lot of medications/antibiotics to treat. In fact, allopathic or at-home treatments are usually successful in their treatment.
Applying A Warm Compress
As already mentioned, the hardened oils in the Meibomian gland can be softened and drained out by applying a warm compress on the eyelid. It also helps to massage the lid slowly and gently. Be careful and don’t rub too hard or try to pull out the cyst roughly. If you have chalazia frequently, you should clean your eyes with a cotton swab regularly.
Bitter Gourd Paste Or Herbal Tea
Bitter gourd has strong detoxifying properties. It can also be used to heal a chalazion. You can either or make a ground paste out of bitter gourd slices or prepare a warm cup of bitter gourd tea. Apply the paste over your eyelid at least twice a day. Drink a cup of bitter gourd tea on an empty stomach each morning. You can flavor the tea with salt or sweeteners. Eventually, your eye would be cleaned and detoxified.
Using Milk To Excise The Cyst
Dip a cotton swab in warm milk and apply it on the cyst. Within ten minutes of gentle rubbing, the cyst would rupture and its contents would ooze out. Now clean the eye and apply a bactericidal ointment over the eyelid. It is also beneficial to wash the eyes with cold milk every now and then.
Take 15 – 17 average – sized mint leaves and crush them in a mortar. Apply the paste as a poultice on your eyelid. Leave it on for a few minutes. You will notice that the irritation in your eye would gradually subside.
Castor oil has herbal benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties. And thus, it serves to reduce the puffiness in your eyelid. All you have to do is rub castor oil gently on the skin of your eyelid especially over the cyst. Use a cotton swab to apply the oil. It is better to compress the eyelid before application.
To improve your understanding of chalazia and learn some more home remedies,
please check this article. How To Get Rid Of A Chalazion Effectively
A chalazion is a mild eye condition in which the eyelid swells and reddens. This occurs due to inflammation and blockage of the oil glands, specifically the ducts of the Meibomian gland, The hardened oils form nodules inside the gland and cause redness and soreness. It is usually painless and more common amongst patients of eye diseases. It can present on both eyes at the same time. Most often, it resolves by itself and there is no need to see a doctor. However, if it continues to trouble you or grows too large, then you need to see a doctor immediately. Larger and persistent chalazia are excised and removed through surgery. An alternative is herbal methods which are also very effective.
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