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Chalazion (Lump on Eyelid)

What is a chalazion?

A chalazion is a lump in the middle of the eyelid. The lump slowly gets bigger until it is about 1/2 inch wide. The skin overlying the lump is a normal color or pink. The lump is usually not tender.

Your health care provider needs to confirm the diagnosis.

What is the cause?

A chalazion is caused by a blockage of a special oil gland called the meibomian gland. The oil gland normally lubricates the inner surface of the eyelid. When the gland is blocked, the oily material builds up and causes a lump in the eyelid. The gland can become blocked by infection, dust, a foreign body, or an injury.

How long does it last?

If a chalazion is treated within the first month or so, the warm compresses and eyelid massage may reduce the swelling. After the first month, treatment is of little benefit, but the lump may gradually disappear on its own. Occasionally, the blocked gland opens through the inner lining of the eyelid and drains a little pus for a day or so before it heals over.

If the chalazion is large and lasts more than 2 months, it usually needs to be opened and drained by an eye surgeon (an ophthalmologist).

How can I take care of my child?

  • Warm compresses and eyelid massage

    The purpose of eyelid massage is to help open the blocked gland. First put a warm wet cloth on the eyelid for 2 or 3 minutes. Then, using your finger or a cotton swab, gently massage the swollen area downward towards the edge of the eyelid. Do this for about 1 minute. Repeat this process 4 times a day. Continue this treatment for 1 month.

When should I call my child's health care provider?

Call during office hours if:

  • The chalazion doesn't get smaller after you have treated it for 1 month with warm compresses and massage.
  • The swelling becomes larger.
  • Your child still has the lump more than 2 months from now.
  • The eyelid becomes red and swollen.
  • You have other questions or concerns.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2006-02-23
Last reviewed: 2006-02-23
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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