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Chalazion

A chalazion (kuh-LAY-zee-un) is a lump on the eyelid that may become infected. A common eye disorder, a chalazion is a granulomatous inflammation of a meibomian (sebaceous) gland in the upper or lower eyelid.

Chalazia may vary in size from small,  almost invisible lumps to rather large masses  as big as a little fingernail.  Sometimes tender in their early stages, they are later painless and frequently will form a firm swelling in the lid.  This lump can distort the eyeball and cause blurred vision if left untreated.

Causes

Obstruction of the meibomian gland duct causes a chalazion. It may develop as a complication from a hordeolum (stye).

Symptoms

The following are the most common symptoms of a chalazion. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • a small bump which can usually be felt in the eyelid
  • a gradual swelling of the eyelid
  • discomfort in the eye or difficulty with seeing if the chalazion is large (swelling of the eyelid is usually not painful)

If the initial chalazion becomes infected, the entire lid may become swollen and painful.

The symptoms of a chalazion may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

Diagnostic tests 

Recurrent chalazions, especially in an adult, necessitate biopsy to rule out meibomian gland cancer.

Treatment

Initial therapy consists of applying warm compresses to open the glandular lumen and, occasionally, instilling sulfonamide eyedrops. If this therapy fails, if the chalazion presses on the eyeball, or if the swelling causes a cosmetic problem, incision and curettage under local anesthesia may be necessary. Afterward, a pressure patch is applied to the eye for 8 to 12 hours to control bleeding and swelling. When the patch is removed, treatment again involves warm eye compresses applied for 10 to 15 minutes two to four times daily. Antimicrobial eye drops or eye ointment may be ordered to prevent secondary infection. If this treatment is ineffective, the lesion may be injected with corticoids.

Prevention

Proper cleansing of the eyelid may prevent recurrences in people prone to chalazia. Cleaning the eyelash area with baby shampoo will help reduce clogging of the ducts.

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