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What is it?

A chalazion or meibomian cyst is a chronic, steile inflammatory granuloma in the meibomian glands and a side effect of the retention of their fat secretion, which leads to a nodular lesion on the eyelid. It may appear at any age and may recur.

Symptoms

It usually develops as a hard and painless nodule. On occasions it may get superinfected (stye) and cause pain and redness of the eyelid. It may also be accompanied by purulent discharge.

When should I go to the ophthalmologist?

In the event of redness of the eyelid or pain, you should consult an ophthalmologist as they are signs that usually indicate a superinfection and thus you can start the correct treatment as early as possible.

If there is a painless lesion that does not grow in size, but it is not aesthetically pleasant, then we advise that you consult your ophthalmologist.

Causes and risk factors

Dematalogical issues like rosacea and associated blepharitis are frequent. In children, uncorrected long-sigtedness may also be associated.

Prevention

To prevent the appearance of chalazions (and styes) you should eat a diet high in Omega 3 acids and have proper eyelid hygiene, carrying out an eyelid massage and cleaning the base of the eyelashes properly with specific wetwipes. It is equally important to remove your make-up (like mascara and eyeliner) as it affects the area of these glands.

Patients with a history of rosacea, recurring chalazions or blepharitis must see an ophthalmologist in order to manage the risk factors correctly.

Treatment

Approximately a third of cases go away themselves, so occasionally treatment is not required. However, usually treatment consists of a eyelid massage with the application of heat and specific wetwipes as well as proper lubrication of the eye's surface. 

In the event that it presents itself as a stye, you must use an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory ointment. Only in very exceptional cases is it necessary to take oral antibiotics. 

If persistent, cyst-like lesions give bother or are not aesthetically pleasant to the patient, then surgical removal will be required. If they are found close to the lacrimal punctum or the palpebral border, a small corticosteroid injection is administered. 

Professionals who treat this pathology

Frequently asked questions

  • We talk about a benign pathology as it is a chronic inflammatory process. Only in recurring cases should you have a biopsy to rule out malignant lesions. 

  • Yes, it could recur, especially if there is associated blepharitis. However, prevention (Omega 3, good eyelid hygiene) is simple and highly effective.

  • It is a palpebral lesion, therefore, it does not affect the vision. Only in the case of a large-sized chalazion on the upper eyelid would there be a slight variation in your prescription (changes in an astigmatism), but they do not cause any loss of vision. 

  • A third of cases do not require treatment and they very frequently go away themselves if you massage the area with a warm compress. It's always advisable to see an ophthalmologist for the treatment indicated in each case.

  • You won't have a scar since it's a simple procedure (on many occasions it does not require stitches) and we make the most of the natural fold in the eyelid skin, so that the incisions are not visible. In addition, there are cases where it can be approached from inside.

  • There are numerous cases that recur during periods where the patient is under stress.

  • There are a number of home remedies, not just camomile, you can also put a recently boiled egg, a ring or a coin on the area. The basis for all these remdies is the application of local heat, but their effectiveness has not been proven. For this reason, we advise you see an ophthalmologist who will indicate which specialised products to use, and, in addition, will show you the steps for carrying out an optimum palpebral cleanse.