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David K. Coats, MD, Ophthalmology, answered on behalf of American Academy of Ophthalmology's EyeSmartA chalazion occurs when one of the oil glands of the eyelids becomes blocked, resulting in the appearance of a lesion. Treatment of a chalazion is not an emergency and these lesions frequently resolve spontaneously with time.
A chalazion (plural: chalazia) is an inflammation of the deep oil glands inside the eyelid. It develops over 2 to 3 weeks, forming a firm lump under the skin of the eyelid, sometimes with inflammation and swelling.
Often the cause of a chalazion is not known. It may develop from an internal gland infection that does not drain and heal, or from a blocked oil gland. It can also develop from rubbing the eyes or using products near the eyelid that can irritate the eye.
Home treatment is usually all that is needed for a chalazion. This includes not wearing eye makeup or contact lenses; applying warm, wet compresses to the eye area; allowing the chalazion to break open by itself; and using nonprescription medicines. If the chalazion interferes with vision, it may need to be cut open (lanced) by a doctor.
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A chalazion (pronounced kuh-LAY-zee-un) is an enlargement of an oil-producing gland in the eyelid called the meibomian gland. It forms when the gland opening becomes clogged with oil secretions. It is not caused by an infection from bacteria, and it is not cancerous.
If an internal hordeolum doesn’t drain and heal, it can turn into a chalazion. Unlike a stye, a chalazion is usually painless.