If there is a fairly large bump on your eyelid it may be a chalazion or stye. This is a benign condition that occurs when an oil gland on the eyelid becomes clogged and inflamed.
Oil Glands on the Eyelid
The eyelids have several types of glands including two types of oil glands. There are external oil glands, called the glands of Zeiss, which secrete oil onto the surface of the eyelid.
There are also internal oil glands, called Meibomian glands, which secrete oil onto the surface of the eye in the tear film.
Both internal and external oil glands can become clogged and cause a chalazion if they become inflamed.
These oil glands are important both for the health of the eyelid skin and quality of the tear film.
How a Chalazion Forms
A chalazion typically does not form quickly, rather it will develop over many days or weeks.
An oil gland, either an external or internal gland, will become clogged with oil that has solidified. This clogged gland will no longer be able to secrete the oil inside of the gland.
As the gland continues to make more oil, it will fill with the oil and other fatty deposits. If the clogged gland then begins to get inflamed, the gland will swell.
Once the inflammation begins, a chalazion has begun to form. It will swell, become redder due to increased blood flow, and may become slightly tender to the touch as well.
Within a few days, the chalazion may enlarge to the point that it is very noticeable as a bump on the eyelid.
How a Chalazion is Treated
A chalazion can be treated with many different options including a warm compress treatment, a steroid injection, or a surgical incision.
If the chalazion is small or it is the first to develop, the first treatment may include warm compress therapy.
These warm compresses will be applied to the eyelid with slight pressure and massage for about ten minutes typically twice a day for a week or two weeks.
The heat from the compress helps the liquify the oil and the massage will help to secrete the build up of the oil and inflammatory by products.
However, if the chalazion is large or has occurred before, more aggressive treatments may be used to get rid of the chalazion sooner.
A steroid injection can be used to stop the inflammation associated with the chalazion. The steroid will be injecting into and around the bump on the eyelid.
The steroid injection will usually resolve the chalazion within a week.
The most effective treatment for a chalazion is a surgical procedure called incision and curettage.
This entails a doctor cutting open the chalazion and removing the contents directly while in office. This procedure is an in office procedure with only local anesthetic.
An incision and curettage procedure will typically remove the chalazion with hours and the eye will heal in the following days.
Prognosis of a Chalazion
A chalazion has an excellent prognosis even if the bump is large or the chalazion is recurrent.
The plethora of treatment options available for chalazions help to make sure that there will be complete resolution from all the signs and symptoms of the bump.