A chalazion (kah LAY zee on) is a "lump in the eyelid" that occurs when a small gland in the eyelid becomes plugged, enlarged, and infected. A chalazion may be present for weeks or months and may occur in upper and lower eyelids. A chalazion is different than a stye. A stye is an infected eyelash follicle.
Treatment of a chalazion
Warm compresses and lid scrubs are the best way to treat a chalazion. Warm compresses may help reduce the size of the lump and may cause it to disappear. Sometimes, though, warm compresses make the lump larger and it ruptures. In some cases, your doctor may also suggest using eye drops or ointment. If warm compresses and medication do not work after several weeks, the doctor may need to remove the chalazion surgically.
How to use warm compresses
- Wet a folded washcloth in comfortably warm (not hot) water and wring out the excess water.
- Have your child hold the warm washcloth over the affected eyelid several times a day for 5 to 10 minutes each time (Picture 1). This can be done while watching TV or resting. The best times may be before school, after school, after dinner and at bedtime. When the compress cools, wet the washcloth again with warm water. You, or your child, will probably need to wet the washcloth 3 or 4 times during a 5-10 minute treatment.
- Use a clean washcloth every day and wash in the laundry before it is used again.
- A chalazion can occur again in the same eyelid or the other eyelid. If this happens, begin using warm compresses as soon as you notice a new lump.
- In some cases the doctor may prescribe an eye antibiotic. If this is ordered, apply the antibiotic after removing the warm compress.
- Good hygiene can keep the chalazion from coming back.
- Use a clean cotton ball, a washcloth or finger tips, and clean the eyelids with a solution of tap water and baby shampoo. You can also use a purchased hypoallergenic cleanser.
- The chalazion should never be squeezed.
If you have any questions, be sure to ask your doctor or nurse,
HH-I-115 3/89, Revised 8/17 Copyright 1989, Nationwide Children's Hospital