A chalazion (also called a meibomian cyst) is a type of eyelid cyst that can appear on the upper or lower eyelid. It can be caused by a blockage in one of the oil glands that supplies fluid to keep the surface of your eyes moist and stop them from drying out. When the gland is blocked it may become swollen. These eyelid cysts can vary in size, and usually develop over a few days or weeks. They may occasionally become red and painful.
A chalazion is not the same as a stye, which is the most common type of eyelid bump. Styes occur when bacteria get into the oil glands in the eyelids. A stye is a small, painful lump (cyst) that appears close to the eyelashes. Most styes will heal without treatment, within one to three weeks.
Typical chalazion symptoms can include:
- An obvious lump on the eyelid
- Redness or discoloration of the surrounding skin
- Swelling of the eyelid
- Discharge from the cyst
- Pain or discomfort (especially during blinking)
- Itchiness of the cyst and/or surrounding skin
A chalazion may appear and disappear within several days. You can help it heal by holding a clean flannel warmed in hot water to your closed eye for five minutes, and repeating this three to four times a day for up to four weeks.
If you have an eyelid cyst that has not cleared up after a month, then see your GP, who may prescribe antibiotic eye drops and ointment. They may also refer you to see an ophthalmologist to have the chalazion removed through minor surgery.
At Circle Health, we can arrange a private appointment for you to visit a leading consultant ophthalmologist who specialises in eyelid cyst removal. They can closely assess your individual eye condition, and advise you about the most suitable treatment for you.