A chalazion is a benign, painless bump or nodule inside the upper or lower eyelid that is normally caused by blocked oil gland. The contents of a chalazion include pus and blocked fatty secretions (lipids) that normally help lubricate the eye but can no longer drain out. Many chalazia resolves on its own. However, you need to see a doctor when it persists for more than several weeks and grow large enough to block your vision.
What Causes a Chalazion?
It is not always possible to identify a cause for a chalazion. However, chalazia are more common in those with blepharitis (eye inflammation) and rosacea.
People with rosacea, characterized by facial redness and swollen bumps under the skin (papules and pustules), are prone to have certain eye problems such as blepharitis and chalazia.
How Is a Chalazion Treated?
If you are prone to developing chalazia, your doctor can prescribe preventative regimens, such as cleaning your eyelids, applying medicine on your eyelid and even using oral medication for underlying conditions.
The most commonly prescribed oral medicine for blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction is doxycycline (antibiotic). Sometimes tetracycline and minocycline, both of which are in the same drug family of antibiotics, are prescribed. However, doxycycline tends to be better tolerated.
Topical and oral antibiotics usually are ineffective as direct treatments for chalazia, which have no active infectious component that would require this kind of approach.
Chalazia that have grown larger may need simple in-office surgery to excise it. In cases where a chalazion recurs in the same part of the eyelid or has a suspicious appearance, the removed tissue may be sent to a laboratory to rule out tumorous growth. Fortunately, most chalazia are relatively harmless.
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