Along the upper and lower lids are located a number of glands that manufacture part of the tear film that protects and lubricates the eyeball. If one of these glands becomes blocked, a small lump appears. This is called a chalazion (chalazia).
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.
What causes it?
Their exact cause remains unknown. Several conditions are associated with chalazia: seborrhea, chronic lid inflammation, dry eyes and acne. Once a chalazion has formed, the chances of getting another one in the next two years increases greatly.
A few chalazia will disappear in a few weeks without any special therapy. To help them go away, frequent hot packs throughout the day and drops are helpful, especially in the early stages. In some cases, oral medications can help prevent recurrences.
If a chalazion persists, an in-office surgical procedure can be performed to remove it. The chalazion is drained from the inside of the lid after a small injection of local anesthetic. Often a small knot will remain where the chalazion was drained.