Have you ever had an eyelid bump, chances are you might have had a chalazion? A chalazion is a blocked oil gland that appears on your upper or lower eyelid. They tend to come on gradually over the course of a few weeks. A chalazion is not a tumor or growth and does not cause permanent changes in vision.
Eyelid glands are called Meibomian glands. There are about 30 of these glands in each of the upper and lower lids. These glands produce a thick liquid secretion, that is discharged into the tear film the eye. This liquid is a mixture of oil and mucus and is called sebum. Sebum maintains lubrication on the surface of the eye. The tiny openings of each of these glands are located just behind the eyelashes, at the lid margins of the upper and lower eyelids.
The opening through which a Meibomian gland secretes its liquid can get clogged from narrowing of the opening or hardening of the thick liquid. The eyelid gland will have a backup of sebum fluid, and the obstructed gland will swell. This causes inflammation in the gland and eyelid. This inflamed enlargement is a chalazion.
Most chalazions can be treated with warm compresses applied to the eyelid 3 to 4 times a day. This increases circulation of blood flow to the inflamed area. The warm compresses also help the blocked gland to drain. If warm compresses are not helping, your ophthalmologist may need to surgically remove it.
A chalazion is typically removed in the doctor’s office, with a local anesthetic injected in the eyelid. After the eyelid is numb, the surgeon lifts the eyelid to expose the inside of the lid. A small incision is made on top of the chalazion. Contents of the chalazion are removed, pressure is applied for a few minutes to stop any bleeding.
If you have had a chalazion, you are at greater risk for getting another one. Individuals with thicker Meibomian gland secretions have a bigger risk, as well as people who have rosacea, because of alterations within the oil glands. If you get styes or chalazions frequently your doctor may talk to you about a condition call blepharitis.
Here are a few tips for preventing a chalazion from coming back:
- Practice regular hand washing and try not to rub your eyelids
- Keep your hands away from your eyes
- Use a cleansing lid scrub to remove dirt and makeup
- Regular use of warm compresses applied to closed eyelids for five minutes before bedtime
Monica Ronke, CST has worked at Bond Eye Associates for a total of nine years as a Certified Surgical Technician. She assists surgeons during minor office procedures as well as in the operating room at the local hospitals. Please call Bond Eye Associates to schedule your yearly health vision exam with confidence knowing that they have been a trusted, locally owned, medical practice for over 37 years. They are accepting new patients in both of their locations: Peoria and Pekin, IL. Please call toll free at 800-243-2020 or click here to schedule an appointment.
You can also check out this article about styes on AllAboutVision.com by clicking here.