What is a Chalazion?
It is an infection commonly caused by the bacterium, Staphylococcus. With appropriate treatment, it resolves without any complications. There are two main types of stye: hordeolum and chalazion. They have different causes and treatments.
- Hordeolum: This occurs due to a blockage in the sweat gland found in the skin of the eyelid at the base of the eyelashes or a small sebaceous gland present at the base of the eyelashes. Sebaceous glands secrete sebum, a waxy, oily substance that moisturizes and protects the skin and hair.
- Chalazion: This occurs due to a blockage of a meibomian gland, a special sebaceous gland that is present only in the eyelid. It is located inside the eyelid and opens at the rim of the eyelid, behind the lashes.
What are the signs and symptoms of a chalazion?
Some signs and symptoms associated with chalazion include
- It appears as a swollen bump over the upper or lower eyelid. Multiple swellings may be present.
- Puffiness of the eyes
- Pain and tenderness
- Increased temperature over the affected area
- Increased pressure over the eyes
- Heaviness of the eye
- Epiphora (watering of eyes)
- Crusting around the eyelids and eyelashes
- Crusting may cause the eyelids to stick to each other
- Pus discharge may occur, with or without blood
What is the fastest way to get rid of a chalazion?
It is usually not possible to get rid of a chalazion completely overnight or “fast” because there are no shortcuts to the treatment. One must avoid trying to pop the chalazion and constantly touching and rubbing the eyes. There are several ways to hasten healing including
- Avoid using makeup, over-the-counter beauty products, masks or contact lenses.
- Protect the eye from dust and pollution.
- Warm compresses and gentle massaging: This can be done by using a clean washcloth dipped in warm water and gently placing it over the affected eye for 5 to 15 minutes. This can be repeated several times a day. A warm gel eye mask can also be used instead of a washcloth. You can combine gentle massage with a warm compress. A warm compress helps to reduce pain and swelling, moves the pus to the surface, dissolves pus and removes crusts.
- Applying a warm tea bag: Using a warm tea bag as a warm compress helps to reduce inflammation, infection and pain. You can do it several times a day.
- Gentle cleansing: Use a mild antibacterial soap to gently cleanse the eyes and to remove crusts, reduce infection and maintain hygiene.
- Medical treatment
- Oral antibiotics, antibiotic ointments or eye drops prescribed by a physician helps quicken healing
- Steroid injections administered by your healthcare provider may help reduce swelling
- Surgical treatment: In case the chalazion is persistent and does not resolve, the eye doctor (ophthalmologist) may perform a minor surgery under local anesthesia. This procedure typically takes a day and patients can resume their normal activities soon after. A chalazion can sometimes recur.
How do you prevent chalazion?
The following tips can help prevent a chalazion
- Maintain hygiene of the eye, eyelids and eyelashes
- Avoid harsh face products around the eyes
- Use dermatologically-tested makeup and beauty products
- Eat a healthy and nutritious diet
- Avoid touching the face with unclean hands
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