What are the symptoms of a chalazion?

A chalazion will appear on either the upper or lower eyelid as a painless lump or swelling.

Sometimes it can be confused with a stye as their symptoms can be quite similar. But a chalazion will often develop over a much longer period of time, usually under the skin of the eyelid rather than on the edge. It will feel a bit firmer too, and often won’t hurt.

However, in rare cases, if it’s caused by an infection, the lump may look red and can feel quite painful.

What causes a chalazion?

Our eyelids are lined with lots of tiny glands, called meibomian glands, which produce oil to keep our eyes moist and healthy.

A chalazion is caused when one of these glands becomes blocked. The oil inside slowly builds up into a cyst, which appears on the eyelid as a small lump and can harden or grow over time.

What help is available?

Chalazions are mostly harmless and should get better and eventually disappear on their own. This could take a few months, so to help it along we’d recommend applying a hot compress regularly to the affected eye. This will help to soften the contents of the cyst, and encourage it to drain on its own.

If you’re concerned it’s not going away, or if it starts to feel sore or affect your vision, you should visit your GP for further investigation.

They may prescribe some antibiotics if an infection is present, or in some cases they may remove it. Long standing chalazions which are causing blurry vision or irritation, may need referral to an eye surgeon to be removed.

If you are in any way concerned about your eyes, contact your local Specsavers store and request an eye health appointment where the optometrist can investigate the problem.

Did you know?

Specsavers stores provide a range of additional eye care services to help maintain the health of your eyes. In some areas of the country, this may be provided free of charge on behalf of the NHS. Where NHS services are not available, there is a private service. Rather than booking an appointment online, contact your local store for more information and to arrange an eye health clinic appointment.