What is a Chalazion (Eyelid Cysts)
There are different types of cysts found on the eyelid and if you have any concerns you should seek advice from an eye health specialist or GP.
The most commonly found eyelid cyst is often called different names. These include the terms Sty and chalazion.
It is the same glands that are involved in Meibomian Gland Disease that are involved in developing the eyelid cysts called chalazion.
In Meibomian Gland Disease the oil becomes abnormally thick or the openings of these glands become blocked. The glands continue to produce an oil and this causes the gland to expand like a balloon being inflated.
When some of the oil leaks out from the gland into the surrounding skin tissue, it causes significant irritation. You will experience a sensation of pain and swelling around the whole eyelid. The eyelid also becomes red and hot. Often this is confused with an infection and you may be prescribed and antibiotic at this point.
The body reacts by sending cells to the area that form a capsule around the oil that has been leaked out. At this point you may feel or even be able to see a tender lump developing under the skin of the eyelid. Over time the swelling and the redness will decrease and a discrete lump may remain that can be felt and often seen on the eyelid.
In order to clear this oil from the lump it is recommended to apply heat to the lump and massage it gently. The body will naturally respond by moving the lump towards either the skin on the outside of the eyelid or more commonly inward towards the inner surface of the eyelid. If it is moved towards the outside skin then a part of the lump nearest to the skin will form a ‘point’ much like a boil. It will become very tender and may have a yellowish colour. This will eventually break through the skin and discharge the unwanted oil away from the lump out onto the skin. It is often at this point when you’ll start to feel some relief and once the offending oil has discharged. Keeping the area clean and assisting in pressing out some of the remaining oil is advised.
The body will then naturally heal and dissolve away the fibrous capsule that had formed and the skin will heal nicely.
These lumps will clear on their own over time but can take as long as 2 to 3 years. However they can fluctuate in size while gradually healing. These lumps often become painless and if they are not visible then you can be conservative and only treat with regular heating. If they are unsightly or not going away fast enough then you may be referred to an ophthalmologists who can either inject the lesion with the steroid or more commonly they will perform a small surgical procedure to drain out the oil through the inner layer of the eyelid.
The fact that you are developing these lumps suggests the oil is not flowing freely from the glands. Regular heating and massage of the glands may help prevent further lumps from developing.
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