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Chalazion – A Bump on the Eye Lid

Your eyes have lots of oil glands under the eyelids that secrete oily fluids to lubricate the eye surfaces; if a blockage occurs in the minute ducts leading to the eyes then one of several problems including development of blepharitis, a stye or chalazion can happen.

One thing for sure, you don’t have to worry about whether you have something wrong with your eyes – your friends will be more than ready to question you about what’s going on and what you’re going to do about it as they quizzically examine you! They will have you off to the doctor, optometrist or ophthalmologist in no time at all.

Chalazia (the plural of chalazion) are similar to a stye in looks but are not infectious, nor are they as painful; quite often a stye develops outwards from the eye, whereas a chalazion grows inward.

A chalazion appears as a small bump on the eyelid and in most cases will be harmless and will clear up by itself – but if one keeps on appearing in the same place, then it’s best to seek a medical opinion as it could be something more nasty.

Your therapeutic optometrist is the best starting point.  If surgical intervention is required they will be able to recommend the appropriate ophthalmologist for you.


The main symptom is fairly obvious, a small swelling on the eyelid that eventually develops into a bump. This might be preceded or accompanied by watery eyes, heavy eyelids and some sensitivity to light.

First signs can be a slight smarting of the eyelid and then the beginnings of a reddish swollen pimple-like feature. When a bump appears, it’s the chalazion forming.

Whilst easily mistaken for a stye, a chalazion is not caused by bacteria initially but can begin to harbour them, so leading on to infection.


The ducts leading from the Meibomian glands not functioning correctly is the most common cause of chalazia, although a previously infectious stye that has healed can then develop into one.

People suffering from Blepharitis, which is a long term eyelid inflammation caused by a variety of things such as flaky skin, mite infestations or fungal infection, can be prone to getting chalazia.


Fortunately chalazia disappear without formal treatment within a few weeks.

Home remedy is enough to alleviate any blockages by applying warm compresses regularly and keeping everything really clean. Cleaning the eyelid with a cotton bud dipped in a very mild solution of baby shampoo assists in recovery.

Should the cyst like bump get too big it can be quickly eradicated, within a few days even, by direct steroid injection with no reported side-effects.

Only in the case of a large chalazion which may be affecting vision is there any need for surgical intervention. The day surgery procedure starts with a local anaesthetic by injection into the eyelid. After that it’s a relatively simple matter to cut into the back of the eyelid and drain the chalazion.

Prevention is better than cure

After one or two chalazia it might be time to seriously think about taking some preventative measures to prevent future re-occurrences. This is quite simple – get organised and follow a strict eye cleanliness routine combined with Omega 3 (fish oil) supplements.

About the Author

Dr Jim Kokkinakis (Optometrist) graduated in 1983 from the Optometry School University of NSW. He is currently a Senior Lecturer there and regular speaker to both Optometrists and Ophthalmologists in Australia and Internationally. He has a specialist clinical practice in the Sydney CBD with interests in Eye Strain, Computer Vision problems, Treatment of Eye Diseases and complex Contact lens Fittings.

Comments (4)

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  1. Jordan miller (http://blepharitis-treatment says:

    hehe, I just wrote up an article regarding chalazion since it is related to blepharitis… I haven’t had a cyst yet and I don’t ever want one either…nice article btw

    • Jim (http://www NULL.optometrist says:

      Thanks for the feedback Jordan. I think the reason you have not had a chalazion is that you have managed to work out how to control your blepharitis. As you know they are very much related.

      It is quite sad to think that a layperson has to see Drs for advice and get no results. Congratulations on having the persistence to manage your condition and just as importantly share your experiences with others.

  2. Toya says:

    How does fish oil supplements help with chalazions?

    • admin says:

      It probably doesn’t. It could help though in preventing more from developing. Often chalazions that have not resolved after 3 – 6 months will need a minor procedure to remove them.

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