With at-home treatments, a chalazion should decrease in size over time. If you need surgery to remove a chalazion, you can expect some bruising and swelling for up to 2 weeks while it’s healing.

A chalazion is a small, firm bump that forms on your eyelid. A blockage in a meibomian gland causes it. Meibomian glands are small oil glands within the eyelid behind your eyelashes. They produce an oily substance designed to keep your eyes moist and comfortable.

You may get a chalazion if you have an eyelid stye that doesn’t drain and heal.

Chalazia (the plural form of “chalazion”) often heal without treatment within a month. But some at-home treatments may speed up healing and make you more comfortable.

If a chalazion gets too large, it may press upon your eyeball and blur your vision. If it doesn’t heal and continues to grow, you may need a steroid injection or surgical removal.

The appearance of a chalazion changes during the healing process. Read on to find out what you can expect to see as a chalazion heals.

A chalazion on your eyelid looks like a swollen, red bump. It may be tender to the touch, but it’s rarely painful.

At-home treatment consists primarily of placing warm compresses on the affected eyelid:

  1. Use a clean washcloth.
  2. Soak it in warm-to-hot water.
  3. Ring out the washcloth, so it doesn’t drip.
  4. Let it cool to a warm, comfortable temperature.
  5. Hold the washcloth to your eyelid for 10 to 15 minutes. If it cools down too much, resoak it and repeat.
  6. Gently massage the eyelid in a circular motion through the washcloth.
  7. Repeat two to four times daily with a fresh, clean washcloth.

Instead of a washcloth, you can use a commercially available hot pack that you can heat in your microwave. Warm compresses help chalazia heal by opening up the clogged oil gland. This helps the oil gland drain, which reduces swelling and redness.

If warm compresses are working, you’ll see a difference in the size and color of the chalazion in 1 to 2 weeks. It should slowly start to shrink over several days. The redness of the bump should also start to fade.

Don’t be discouraged if the chalazion doesn’t disappear completely right away. Chalazia can take months to disappear completely.

Let the chalazion heal slowly. Do not try to pop or squeeze the bump. You should also avoid wearing makeup or contact lenses while the chalazion is healing.

Chalazia rarely scar. You may sometimes lose a few eyelashes during the healing process.

Contact a doctor if you see no improvement within 2 weeks to a month, or if the chalazion:

  • gets bigger
  • becomes painful
  • affects your vision

If a chalazion doesn’t heal with basic treatment, it may require surgical removal.

Chalazion surgery is an outpatient procedure. That means you don’t need to stay overnight in the hospital. It takes less than an hour from start to finish.

A clinician will make a small incision in the affected eyelid and remove the fluid buildup within the chalazion. They may need to close the incision with self-dissolving stitches. They’ll give you an eyepatch or eye pad to wear home after the procedure.

As with many surgeries, you can expect to see some swelling and bruising around the affected area for up to 2 weeks. Let your doctor know if the swelling doesn’t go away or if the area becomes painful.

The incision may also leak a pale reddish fluid for a day or two. If it leaks yellow or thick fluid, let your doctor know. This might be a sign of infection.

If there are no complications, such as an infection, your eyelid should revert to its regular appearance within 2 weeks after surgery. The stitches will dissolve on their own during this time.

Your clinician will give you aftercare instructions to follow. They’ll also prescribe antibiotics to avoid the risk of infection. They may also give you a prescription steroid ointment that will support healing by reducing inflammation.

Things to do

  • Use a cold compress on the area to help the swelling go down. A doctor may recommend you start using cold compresses immediately. Make sure the compress is clean.
  • Try alternating cold with heat once the swelling has subsided a bit. You can apply a warm eye compress to the area for several days. Moist heat will support wound drainage and healing.
  • Be sure to keep the area clean.

Things to avoid

  • Do not reuse a compress without washing it.
  • Do not rub or touch your eye, especially with unclean hands.
  • Avoid wearing makeup for several weeks to a month. Makeup can harbor harmful bacteria.
  • Avoid activities that might injure your eye, such as contact sports.
  • Avoid inverted yoga poses for a week or two. These can put pressure on your eye.
  • Avoid swimming in chlorine-treated pools, salt water, or lake water. The water can contain chemicals and pathogens that might infect or irritate your eye.
  • Avoid getting water in your eye while showering.
  • Do not wear contact lenses until healing is complete.

Chalazia usually resolve on their own or with conservative treatment. Large chalazia that don’t resolve with conservative treatment may require surgical removal. Post-surgical healing may take several weeks.

During healing, a chalazion will shrink and become less red. Swelling and bruising after surgery are common and to be expected.