Understanding a Chalazion

What is a Chalazion?

A chalazion is a mass or cyst, which can occur, in the upper or lower eyelid. Chalazions are often chronic, which means they recur frequently.

Why does a chalazion form?

A chalazion is usually formed by the build-up of secretions in the meibomian gland that forms a cyst. Chalazions occur most often in adults and may be linked to other skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, blepharitis and rosacea.

What are the signs and symptoms of this condition?

Symptoms of a chalazion include a swelling in the upper or lower lid, which may become red. Usually these masses are not painful. If a bump in the upper eyelid becomes large enough, it can cause blurred vision. Other symptoms are facial swelling and increased tearing.

What can be done to prevent this condition?

Good eyelid hygiene will help prevent chalazions. The lashes and eyelids should be cleaned daily, and all make-up completely removed. Please ask for an information leaflet on lid hygiene.

What are the treatments for this condition?

Most chalazions go away in a few weeks or months. If not, hot packs used for 10 minutes 4 times a day may help to reduce the chalazion. Antibiotic ointments or drops may also help it resolve. Oral antibiotics are not usually given for this condition.

What will happen if I have the chalazion removed surgically?

  • If the chalazion is quite large or has not responded to treatment, it can be removed surgically in Dr Hornsby’s rooms
  • You should expect to be at the rooms for about one hour, although the procedure takes only 10 – 15 minutes
  • After local anaesthetic, a chalazion instrument is put in place and an incision is made allowing the lesion to be drained
  • You will remain in the rooms until the area has ceased bleeding and antibiotic ointment will be applied to the area
  • The ointment will cause some blurring of vision and it is therefore advised that you DO NOT DRIVE after the procedure
  • You may experience some discomfort after the anaesthetic has worn off, so plan to have a quiet evening at home
  • The eye is not normally covered after this procedure but you may need some clean tissues to dab any excess discharge

Is any follow-up required after the procedure?

You will be given some antibiotic ointment to use for a few days following the procedure. No follow-up is required unless you experience any problems or the chalazion has not fully resolved.

With some people, a chalazion may reoccur even after an incision and drainage procedure.

Does the surgical procedure carry any risk?

No procedure is entirely risk free. Adverse effects from incision and drainage of the chalazion may include infection, bleeding and further eye problems. Dr Hornsby and his staff will be happy to discuss these with you at any time.
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Suite 15, Mater Medical Centre
76 Willetts Road
Mackay QLD 4740


(07) 4942 3301


(07) 4942 9815
Fig 1.Illustration of a chalazion on the lower lid.
Image - Chalazion on the lower lid
Fig 2. Illustration of a swollen chalazion on the upper lid.
Image - Chalazion on the upper lid
Fig 3. Anatomy of the meibomian gland and a chalazion.
Image - Chalazion and the meibomian gland


The information provided here is for general education only and should not be construed as individual medical advice. For advice relevant to your particular situation, please speak to Dr Hornsby.