• A chalazion is a lump in the upper or lower eyelid caused by obstruction and inflammation of an oil gland of the eyelid.
  • A chalazion is not a tumor or growth and does not cause permanent changes in the vision.
  • A chalazion is very common and usually goes away without the necessity of surgery.



A chalazion is a lump in the upper or lower eyelid caused by inflammation of a lid gland. It may be soft and fluid-filled or firmer. Meibomian cyst, tarsal cyst, lymphogranuloma, or conjunctival granuloma are other names for a chalazion.


Meibomian glands are eyelid glands. Palpebral glands, tarsal glands, or tarsoconjunctival glands are other names for the eyelid glands. There are 30-40 of these glands in each of the upper and lower lids. These glands produce a thick liquid secretion that discharges into the tear film of the eye. This liquid (called sebum) is a mixture of oil and mucus—the liquid acts to maintain the eye’s surface lubrication. The tiny openings of each of these oil or sebaceous glands are just behind the eyelashes at the lid margins (edges) of both the upper and lower eyelids.

Sty vs. Chalazion

A sty is sometimes confused with a chalazion, a cyst, or a specific type of scarring due to chronic inflammation in the eyelid’s meibomian glands. A chalazion may develop when a sty persists’ infection over time, resulting in scarring around the meibomian gland. In contrast to a sty, a chalazion is usually painless.


Causes of Chalazion


Narrowing the opening or hardening of the sebaceous liquid near the opening can clog the narrow space through which a meibomian gland secretes its material. If this occurs, the gland will have a backup of the material it secretes, and the obstructed gland will swell. This leads to the thickening of the gland’s walls and leakage of oil into the lid itself, causing inflammation within both the gland and the eyelid. This inflamed enlargement is a chalazion.


Risk factors for Chalazion

Individuals with thicker Meibomian gland secretions than others have a greater risk of developing a chalazion. If you have had one chalazion, you are at greater risk of developing another one in the future. People with acne rosacea, who have abnormalities within the face’s oil glands, often also have Meibomian gland dysfunction, placing them at greater risk for developing chalazia. Seborrhea of the lids (dandruff of the lids or seborrheic dermatitis) also increases the risk of developing a chalazion.


Symptoms and Signs of Chalazion

The signs and symptoms are a non-painful lump under the skin in one of the four eyelids.


If the obstructed gland has bacteria within it, the gland may become infected. This is a hordeolum, which resembles a pimple, which is an infected obstruction of an oil gland of the skin. A hordeolum may be tender to touch and resemble a pustule elsewhere in the body. A chalazion is not an infection but may follow or precede a hordeolum. Hordeolum is another name for a style.


Diagnosing Chalazion

A doctor uses a patient’s medical history and the finding of a firm, painless lump in one of the eyelids to diagnose a chalazion. This diagnosis can be made by inspection with a penlight and some magnification source together with palpation (feeling) of the lump. A chalazion diagnosis includes investigating other causes of lid lumps, including benign and malignant growths, such as basal cell carcinoma. Your physician will suggest a biopsy if he or she suspects that the lump might be a tumor.


Prognosis of Chalazion

In general, a chalazion does not affect sight. Rarely, the lump itself is large enough to distort the ocular surface, including the cornea, and cause temporary astigmatism with a blurring of the vision. The vision will return to normal once a medical professional removes the chalazion, or it gets smaller. The pressure of the chalazion on the eye does not cause glaucoma. A chalazion is not malignant and has no potential to become malignant. A chalazion is not contagious. A chalazion differs from an external hordeolum (stye) in that a chalazion contains no infected material. Rarely, multiple chalazia of the same eyelid can lead to physical changes in the lid, causing eyelashes to turn in toward the eye (trichiasis).


Prevention of Chalazion

Some individuals have thicker Meibomian gland secretions than others and, therefore, have a greater risk of developing a chalazion. If you have had one chalazion, you are at greater risk of developing another one in the future. Because of alterations within the oil glands of the face, people with acne rosacea are at greater risk of developing chalazia. The regular use of warm compresses applied to the closed eyelids for five minutes before bedtime can help prevent the Meibomian glands from clogging during the night. In people with seborrhea of the lids and recurrent chalazia, warm compresses and careful cleansing of the lid margins can help prevent. Some patients with recurrent chalazia can benefit from chronic oral low-dose tetracycline, which changes the oil-producing glands’ metabolism.