What is a Chalazion Cyst?
A small fluid-filled lump that appears either on the upper or lower eyelid is known as chalazion cyst. The eyelashes contain a row of oil glands behind them and if this oil thickens, it creates a barrier on the gland opening resulting in the formation of the cyst. Although very common, it does not cause any harm to the vision and goes away non-surgically. Other names for chalazion are a tarsal cyst, meibomian cyst or conjunctival granuloma.
What are eyelid glands?
The eyelid glands are known as meibomian glands. They are also referred to as palpebral glands, tarsal glands or torsoconjuctival glands. Being 30 to 40 in numbers, they are present in each of the upper and lower lids secreting a thick liquid that accumulates in the tear film of the eye. The sebum (a mixture of mucous and oil) acts as a lubricant for the surface of the eye. They are present just behind the lid margins of the eyelashes of both lower and upper eyelid.
Chalazion v/s Eye Stye
- Stye: Stye or hordeolum is also a cyst that contains pus but appears due to bacterial infection or Staphylococcus aureus in the eyelid or eyelashes. It is larger than Chalazion cyst and is more painful and discomforting.
- Chalazion: Chalazion cyst occurs due to blockage of the oil gland which is present behind the eyelashes and is usually painless. Most of the times, it has no symptoms other than redness or swelling.
Risk factors involved include:
- Thick meibomian gland
- Seborrhea of the lids (dandruff on the lids)
- Acne rosacea (change in oil glands of the face)
- Growth of a new chalazion
Symptoms of Chalazion Cyst
In case of a child, the symptoms can be seen when the child has fever, pain or redness within the eye. It becomes necessary to consult a doctor when the child does not recover within two or three weeks and has vision problems.
- Red, tender bump on the eyelid which mostly occurs on the upper lid because it has more sweat glands than the lower one
- Painless but it can cause extreme pain or irritation in the conjunctival and corneal surface of the eye when it gets infected
- Hard to touch and can increase the size of a green pea
- Blurred or distorted vision
Causes of Chalazion Cyst
Blockage of the gland present in the lining of the eyelid is the main cause of Chalazion cyst. These glands lubricate oil at regular intervals but when it thickens, it forms a white bump on the eyelid or a type of meibomian cyst. There are other risk factors which can be a reason such as seborrhea (overactive sebaceous gland producing oily skin), tuberculosis, viral infection, acne, chronic blepharitis or rosacea.
Diagnosis of Chalazion Cyst
Doctors may take a look and inquire about the symptoms and detect whether it is a chalazion cyst or a stye.
Treatment for Chalazion Cyst
The application of warm and wet compress increments the blood to drain out of the inflamed area and heal the wound. Doctors mostly prescribe antibiotic eye drop or ointment to stop bacterial infection. But if there is no improvement or it re-occurs, it should be removed surgically by creating a small incision near the affected area and remove it by local anesthesia and a chalazion clamp. The surgery can ideally cost $100-$1000. Homeopathic remedies can also be applied to treat the cyst.
Application of warm compresses for 5-10 minutes, 3 to 6 times a day increases blood circulation in the area which is inflamed and leads to eyelid drainage and healing process. This method can heal the affected area faster and open the blocked pore. Natural remedies are also there to treat Chalazion cyst. They include massaging and application of any of the following:
- Guava leaves
- Acacia leaves
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Castor oil
Preventing Chalazion Cyst
To avoid a cyst from growing certain precautions can be taken:
- Checking of lenses or glasses before wearing, if it is clean or not.
- Washing hands before touching the eyes.
- If any sign of lump is noticeable near the eyelid, consult a doctor to avoid interruption in vision