A chalazion will usually go away after a few weeks with at-home treatment. But if this lump on the eyelid does not go away or starts to block your vision, a doctor may recommend treatment.

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A chalazion is a slow-growing, usually painless lump that forms on your eyelid. It’s usually due to inflammation of your eyelid’s oil glands.

Chalazia (plural of “chalazion”) usually get better with home treatment. You might choose to see a doctor if the lump affects your vision or does not get better after a few weeks.

An ophthalmologist may prescribe steroid injections or eye drops to reduce swelling or clear up an infection. In some cases, you may have a chalazion surgically removed.

Chalazion vs. stye

Some people may mistake a chalazion for a stye, but there are some key differences.

A stye is a painful, red, swollen lump that’s usually due to a bacterial infection. It happens on the edge of your eyelid, close to the surface. The swelling can affect your entire eyelid and usually goes away within a week.

A chalazion starts as a tender spot on the eyelid and can turn into a painless lump away from the eyelid edge. It’s usually due to a blocked oil gland. Chalazion swelling usually does not affect the entire eyelid and can take several weeks to go away.

Left untreated, a stye can sometimes become a chalazion.

Chalazia usually respond well to home treatment. You can take steps without a doctor to help to clear up the lump and relieve discomfort.

These steps include applying heat to the area with a warm compress and helping the eyelid glands drain through gentle massage.

Warm compress

A warm compress can help soften the waxy material blocking the glands and drain the contents of the chalazion. Try to use a compress on the chalazion frequently — 4 to 6 times per day for several days, for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA).

Massage

Using gentle massage on the outside of the eyelid near the chalazion can also help with drainage. Try to massage the area for a few minutes several times a day over many days, the AOA suggests.

Over-the-counter medication

Anti-inflammatory eye drops may help reduce some inflammation. Artificial tears may help reduce dry eye or feelings of irritation while the chalazion is healing.

Do…

  • Wash your hands before touching your face around the eyes.
  • Apply a warm compress and perform an eyelid massage several times per day.

Do not…

  • Squeeze or pop the chalazion, which may cause more damage.
  • Wear eye makeup or contact lenses while the chalazion is healing.

On some occasions, you may want to see a doctor about a chalazion. You can see an ophthalmologist, optometrist, or family doctor. Consider medical attention if:

  • The chalazion persists after a few weeks of home treatment.
  • The eye area is painful or swollen, so that a doctor can rule out an infection or stye.
  • The chalazion size or location affects your vision.
  • You have recurrent chalazia.

If you have chalazia that keep coming back, a doctor can perform more tests to confirm that the condition is not cancer. Recurrent chalazia could be a sign of sebaceous gland carcinoma, a rare form of cancer that affects the oil glands of your skin.

Other possible treatments include steroid injections, antibiotics, and incision and curettage (surgery).

Steroid injections

A steroid injection may be an option if you experience severe eyelid swelling. The steroid, typically a triamcinolone shot, can help bring down this swelling. This may reduce blockages to vision and make the eye area more comfortable.

Antibiotics

You will usually only need antibiotics if there is an infection in your eyelid. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or oral antibiotics to help clear up this infection. Once the infection goes away, the inflammation that led to the chalazion may also go down.

A doctor may also prescribe an oral antibiotic to reduce inflammation or lower the melting point of the material causing the blockage in your glands. This may help the blockage drain more easily.

You might have surgery to remove a chalazion if it does not go away within a few weeks or if it makes it hard for you to see.

Surgery for a chalazion is usually a day procedure that takes place in a clinic or doctor’s office. Your doctor will examine your eye before proceeding.

Before making an incision, the doctor will numb your eye area. This may include anesthetic drops in your eye and a local anesthetic injected into your eyelid.

The doctor may use a lid clamp to flip over the eyelid. This allows them to make an incision on the inside of the eyelid. They will enter the incision to scrape out the contents of the chalazion. When that is complete, the doctor will take off the lid clamp.

They may apply an antibiotic ointment and an eye pad to help prevent infection. After about 15 minutes, they will remove the pad and wash your eye. They will place a new pad on your eye. This pad will stay on for several hours, after which you may remove it.

After the surgery, you may have some bruising of the eyelid. Your eyelid may still seem to have a lump, but this is due to inflammation. This inflammation should go down within 7 to 10 days.

How long does it take for a chalazion to go away?

A chalazion should go away within a month with home treatment, including warm compresses and eyelid massages. If the chalazion lasts longer than a month, you should see an eye doctor.

Can eye drops help treat a chalazion?

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops if they suspect an infection has led to the inflammation that’s causing the chalazion. Most chalazia do not need antibiotics. Anti-inflammatory eye drops may work to reduce inflammation.

Can natural treatments like Ayurveda help treat chalazion?

At least one ancient surgical text of Ayurveda describes techniques to treat a chalazion, according to 2021 research. Yet there has not been extensive scientific research in Western medicine into Ayurveda’s methods for treating chalazia.

Will I develop another chalazion?

Chalazia can come back. If you have a chalazion that keeps recurring, your doctor may perform a biopsy to rule out cancer.

A chalazion usually goes away on its own after several weeks. Home treatment of massage and warm compresses can help to unclog the oil glands and drain the lump.

An eye doctor can prescribe other treatments, such as steroid injections for swelling and antibiotics for an infection happening at the same time. If a chalazion is large or does not go away, you may need surgery to remove it.

If at-home treatments do not work after a few weeks, contact an eye doctor about other treatment options.