What is chalazion?
A common eye disorder, a chalazion is a granulomatous inflammation of a meibomian gland in the upper or lower eyelid. This disorder is characterized by localized swelling and usually develops slowly over several weeks.
A chalazion may become large enough to press on the eyeball, producing astigmatism; a large chalazion seldom subsides spontaneously and may have to be incised and curetted surgically. A person susceptible to developing chalazia may have more than one because the upper and lower eyelids contain many meibomian glands. If a chalazion becomes persistent and chronic, a neoplasm should be ruled out by biopsy.
A chalazion is sometimes confused with a stye which also appears as a lump in the eyelid. Chalazions tend to occur farther from the edge of the eyelid than styes (although a gradual swelling can be felt near the edge of the lid), and tend to “point” toward the inside or nose side of the eyelid. Occasionally, a chalazion can cause the entire eyelid to swell suddenly.
Causes of chalazion
A chalazion develops within the Meibomian glands of the eyelid, which are sebaceous glands that produce the tear film that lubricates the eyes. The eyelid has approximately 100 of these glands, located near the eyelashes.
The condition is caused by obstruction of the duct that drains one of these glands. A chalazion begins as diffuse swelling and tenderness, and later forms a cyst-like localized swelling. Many chalazia disappear without treatment after a few months.
Signs and symptoms of chalazion
A chalazion occurs as a painless, hard lump that usually points toward the conjunctival side of the eyelid. Eversion of the lid reveals a red elevated area on the conjunctival surface. In the worst cases, it can even affect eyesight, causing blurry vision. This is due to pressure placed on the eye from the inflammation (swelling) of the eyelid and the growing chalazion.
Home remedies for the treatment of chalazion
1. Warm Compress
In the early stages, chalazia may be treated at home with the repeated use of warm compresses can be applied in a variety of ways, The simplest way is to hold a clean washcloth, soaked in hot water, against the closed lid for five to ten minutes, three to four times a day. Repeatedly soak the washcloth in hot water to maintain adequate heat.
2. Guava Leaves
Guava leaves, warmed and placed on a warm damp cloth, and then used as a compress, reduce the redness, pain and swelling.
3. Acacia Leaves
Boil a handful of acacia leaves in two cups of water. Make a decoction and use as a compress on the eyelids. It reduces swelling and pain. Helps in the removal of chalazion.
If above home remedies fails or if the chalazion presses on the eyeball or causes a severe cosmetic problem, steroid injection or incision and curettage under local anesthetic may be necessary.
After such surgery, a pressure eye patch applied for 8 to 24 hours controls bleeding and swelling. After removal of the patch, treatment again consists of warm compresses applied for 10 to 15 minutes, two to four times daily, and antimicrobial eye drops or ointment to prevent secondary infection.
Prevention and special considerations tips
- Instruct the patient how to properly apply warm compresses: Tell him to take special care to avoid burning the skin, to always use a clean cloth, and to discard used compresses.
- Proper cleansing of the eyelid may prevent recurrences in people prone to chalazion.