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Meibomian Cyst

Issue Description
A chalazion is a cyst in the eyelid that is caused by inflammation of a blocked meibomian gland, usually on the upper eyelid. Chalazions differ from styes (hordeolums) in that they are usually painless apart from the tenderness caused when they swell up, and in size (chalazia tend to be larger than styes). A chalazion may eventually disappear on its own after a few months, though more often than not, some treatment is necessary.
Other Names
Chalazion, Meibomian Gland Lipogranuloma, Tarsal Cyst

The condition is caused by obstruction of one of the ducts that drains one of the Meibomian glands.

  • Swelling on the eyelid
  • Eyelid tenderness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Increased tearing
  • Heaviness of the eyelid
  • Sleepyness

  • Diagnosis
    You or your doctor can diagnose a chalazion by looking at it. Chalazions usually go away on their own without medical attention.

    The primary treatment is application of warm compresses for 10 - 20 minutes at least 4 times a day. This may soften the hardened oils blocking the duct and promote drainage and healing. Topical antibiotic eye drops or ointment (eg chloramphenicol or fusidic acid) are sometimes used for the initial acute infection, but are otherwise of little value in treating a chalazion. Chalazia will often disappear without further treatment within a month or so. If they continue to enlarge or fail to settle within a few months, they may be surgically removed using local anesthesia. This is usually done from underneath the eyelid to avoid a scar on the skin. Rarely chalazia may reoccur and these will be biopsied to help rule out tumors.

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