You can monitor the progress of your chalazion’s healing by noting changes in size and recognizing the reduction of any other symptoms.

A chalazion, sometimes also called a stye, is a lump on the eyelid caused by inflammation.

It’s often the result of clogged oil glands near the base of the eyelashes or in the inner eyelid. A chalazion usually doesn’t hurt, but it may cause irritation.

Chalazia (the plural of chalazion) usually get better on their own within a few weeks. But home treatments like warm compresses and eyelid massage may help speed up the process and relieve discomfort.

As a chalazion heals, the contents of the lump will slowly drain. The chalazion will then get smaller.

If the chalazion affects how you see, your vision should improve if the chalazion is healing. Feelings of irritation, like eye dryness or reduced tear production, should get better.

A 2018 study examined the effectiveness of conservative measures like warm compresses, eye drops, and ointments on healing chalazia.

The study evaluated the healing process by tracking the reduction in the size of the chalazion. The authors said volume would be an ideal measurement of chalazion size. But the volume of an eye lump is hard to measure, so they opted to monitor each lump’s horizontal width.

Complete resolution of the chalazion was defined as a 100% reduction in size. Otherwise, change was measured in millimeters.

A 2020 study on chalazion treatment and meibomian glands also measured chalazion size by horizontal width instead of volume using special ophthalmological instruments.

Someone with a chalazion might want to monitor its size at home by taking photos and comparing them as treatment progresses to see if the lump seems to be healing.

Chalazia come with symptoms like tearing and eye irritation. This is because the oil glands are blocked, which makes it harder to produce the tears you need for healthy eye lubrication. Large chalazia can also press against the eyeball, which can cause blurry vision.

As your chalazion heals, you may experience the following:

  • reduced chalazion size
  • inability to see or feel the chalazion, or it’s harder to find inside the eyelid
  • healthy tears
  • less irritation
  • no blurry vision
  • pain reduction

Some people experience pain if the chalazion scratches the cornea. An eye doctor can check the cornea for irritation using a fluorescein stain test.

You may want to contact a doctor if a chalazion:

  • does not go away in 1 month
  • moves or migrates to another spot
  • is painful or you suspect an infection
  • is large and obstructs vision
  • comes back

A doctor may be able to recommend other treatments like antibiotics or surgery.

Conservative treatment at home usually works to heal a chalazion. If it does not, a doctor can help you explore other options.

Home remedies and over-the-counter treatment

Helping your chalazion to heal at home involves softening the oil blocking the glands. This helps the lump to drain and get smaller.

Place a clean cloth soaked in hot water against the chalazion for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, three to five times a day. You can keep the cloth warm by rewetting it with hot water as needed.

Another option is to take a handful of uncooked rice, put it inside a clean sock, tie it off and microwave it for 20 seconds. Heat is an essential part of this process, and the sock should retain the heat longer than a washcloth.

After using the compress, gently massage the eyelid around the chalazion. This helps to break up the contents of the lump.

Medical treatment

The medical treatment for chalazion often involves treating any underlying infection and removing the lump.

  • Antibiotics: Chalazia are caused by inflammation, so antibiotics are usually not necessary. But a doctor may prescribe antibiotics if they think an infection is causing the inflammation.
  • Steroids: A doctor may give you a steroid shot or prescribe a steroid ointment if the chalazion is very swollen. Steroids should bring down the swelling.
  • Surgical drainage: When the chalazion is big enough to make it hard for you to see or doesn’t go away, a doctor may recommend removing the contents of the lump with surgery.

Here are answers to some common questions about chalazion healing.

How long do chalazia typically last?

Chalazia usually go away within a few weeks. But sometimes, they can last for months.

How long does it take a chalazion to drain fully?

A chalazion can take weeks or months to fully drain. You’ll know if the chalazion is draining if the lump gets smaller.

Can you prevent chalazia?

Chalazia often come back even after treatment. You can help prevent them by:

  • washing your hands before touching your face
  • removing all makeup before going to bed
  • practicing good hygiene with regular eyelid scrubs and warm compresses to prevent the glands from becoming blocked

Chalazia are usually caused by blocked oil glands in the eyelid. They typically go away within a few weeks with home treatment. You can tell your chalazion is healing if it gets smaller and other symptoms like pain and irritation go away.