A chalazion means you have a bump on the outside of your eyelid. This happens when a sebaceous gland in your eyelid becomes blocked. A sebaceous gland in your eyelid can become blocked by dried sebum. The sebum is then more difficult to get out, causing it to accumulate in the sebaceous gland. This causes a bump on the inside of your eyelid, which can also be seen on the outside of your eyelid. The bump won't do any harm and goes away on its own in about half of people who suffer from these. The bump is hard and generally doesn’t hurt. The bump can grow up to a centimetre in size. If the bump gets that big, it can get in the way and press on your eye. This can be unpleasant and can sometimes obstruct your vision. The bump is usually in the upper eyelid. Sometimes the bump can open on the inside of your eyelid. White or jelly-like contents will then drain out. The bump can also become infected. You may well experience some pain if that’s the case. If you have a red and painful bump that looks more like a spot, it’ll be a stye rather than a chalazion.
A chalazion usually won’t hurt. You won’t have any unpleasant symptoms. Symptoms you may experience include:
- The bump is in the way
- Pressure on the eye
- Reduced vision
You may experience the following symptoms if the bump becomes infected:
- Pain at the site of the bump
The bump goes away on its own in half of people who experience these. You can wait for this. There are a few things you can do to help the bump heal faster.
- Wet a wash cloth with warm water. The warmer the wash cloth, the better, but watch out for scalding
- Place the wash cloth on your eye for 10 to 15 minutes
- Reheat the wash cloth if you think it has cooled down too much
- Do this several times a day, for example 4 times
- This will make the skin a little softer. Now you can massage your eyelid
Massaging the eyelid. It’s best to massage your eyelid after you have done the warm compress.
- Wash your hands with soap
- Close your eye
- Try to gently push the bump towards the edge of your eyelid
- If the bump is on your upper eyelid, massage downwards
- If the bump is on your lower eyelid, massage upwards
- Do this for about 2 minutes
- It’s best to do this every time you’ve applied a warm compress
Brushing the eyelids. Degrease the edges of your eyelids 2 times a day with a cotton swab.
- Grab a glass of water and add a few drops of baby shampoo
- Put the cotton swab in the glass of water
- Run the cotton swab along your eyelids a few times
- Rinse your eyes with lukewarm water
You won’t need to go and see a GP if you’re not bothered by the bump on your eyelid. You can simply wait for it to go away on its own, which can sometimes take several months. Even if the bump doesn’t go away on its own, you can still just leave it alone.
Get in touch with your GP if:
- The bump turns red and starts to hurt. The bump may then be infected
- Your vision is impaired because of the bump
- You can’t wear your contact lenses because of the bump
- You think it’s ugly