A chalazion, also known as a Meibomian cyst, is a common condition of the eyelid caused by blockage of the oil-producing Meibomian glands. It is usually felt as a small firm lump in the upper or lower eyelid .

They are not normally serious but they are less likely to clear up on their own than a stye, which is a different kind of blockage

Check if you have a chalazion

It is not normally painful and the eyelid is not often red, and would normally only affect one eye, but you can have more than one at the same time. You will be able to feel a firm hard lump in your lid. Occasionally if you have had one for a long time it can make your vision blurry by causing some astigmatism, which will get better if the lump gets better.

It’s probably not a chalazion if:

  • If the lump is red and filled with yellow pus, this is likely to be a stye
  • there's no lump - if your eye or eyelid is swollen, red and watery it's more likely to be conjunctivitis or blepharitis

How to treat a chalazion yourself

Using a clean hot flannel, or a special heat pad for your eyes you can create a warm compress. This should be done regularly for at least 10 minutes and your lid should be massaged afterwards with clean hands to try and help the blockage to clear. This may take a few weeks but you should start to see an improvement.

Your local optometrist (optician) or pharmacist should be able to give your further advice on self- treatment.

The longer it has been in your eye for the more likely you might need referral for surgical removal. If you feel it is not improving, and or its causing blurred vision it is advised that you visit your local optician for further assessment.

Find an optician here.

Who can get it ?

Anyone can get it. If you have blepharitis, you are pregnant, or have diabetes you may be more likely to have one

The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website nhs.uk
Last Updated: 19/10/2021 12:19:18