A chalazion is a small lump, or cyst, that develops slowly in the eyelid. It can sometimes look alarming, but it’s usually painless and rarely requires treatment.

What are the symptoms of a chalazion?

A chalazion will appear on either the upper or lower eyelid as a painless lump or swelling.

Sometimes it can be confused with a stye as their symptoms can be quite similar. But a chalazion will often develop over a much longer period of time, usually under the skin of the eyelid rather than on the edge. It will feel a bit firmer too, and often won’t hurt.

However, in rare cases, if it’s caused by an infection, the lump may look red and can feel quite painful.

What causes a chalazion?

Our eyelids are lined with lots of tiny glands, called meibomian glands, which produce oil to keep our eyes moist and healthy.

A chalazion is caused when one of these glands becomes blocked. The oil inside slowly builds up into a cyst, which appears on the eyelid as a small lump and can harden or grow over time.

What help is available?

Chalazions are mostly harmless and should get better and eventually disappear on their own. This could take a few months, so to help it along we’d recommend applying a hot compress regularly to the affected eye. This will help to soften the contents of the cyst, and encourage it to drain on its own.

If you’re concerned it’s not going away, or if it starts to feel sore or affect your vision, you should visit your optometrist for further investigation.

The condition may require treatment with some antibiotics if an infection is present. Long standing chalazions which are causing blurry vision or irritation, may need referral to an eye surgeon to be removed.

If you are in any way concerned about your eyes, contact your local Specsavers store and request an eye health appointment where the optometrist can investigate the problem.

Did you know?

Eye tests are bulk billed to Medicare so there are no out of pocket expenses for you.

Frequently asked questions

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