The term chalazion (ke-lay-zee-un) comes from a Greek word meaning a small lump. It refers to a swelling in the eyelid caused by inflammation of one of the small oil producing glands (meibomian glands) located in the upper and lower eyelids.

A chalazion is sometimes confused with a stye which also appears as a lump in the eyelid. A stye is an infection of a lash follicle that forms a red, sore lump near the edge of the eyelid.

A chalazion is an inflammatory reaction to trapped oil secretions. It is not caused by bacteria, although the site can become infected by bacteria as well.

Sometimes a chalazion can cause the entire eyelid to swell suddenly, but usually there is a definite tender point.


When a chalazion is small and without symptoms, it may disappear on its own. If the chalazion is large, it may cause blurred vision by distorting the shape of the eye.

Chalazions are treated with any or a combination of the following methods:


Warm compresses can be applied by holding a clean washcloth,
soaked in hot water, against the closed lid. Do this for five to ten minutes, three or four times a day.Repeatedly soak the washcloth in hot water to maintain adequate heat.The majority of chalazions will disappear within a week.


Injections can be useful after soaks have been tried and a small lump remains.


Bothersome chalazions which are unresponsive to other treatments
can be surgically drained after active inflammation is reduced

Chalazions usually respond well to treatment, although some people are prone to recurrences. In the event of a chalazion recurring in the same place, your eye care specialist may recommend a biopsy to rule out a more serious complication.