A chalazion is a swollen lesion on the eyelid that is caused by inflammation of a Meibomian gland (oil gland in the eyelid). It usually appears as a red, swollen bump. Sometimes it can cause discomfort, especially if it is large. The eye condition rarely affects a person’s vision.

Is a chalazion a stye?

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A chalazion can be mistaken for a stye (hordeolum), which is a painful, swollen lesion in the eyelid caused by infection of a sebaceous or sweat gland. Although a stye will typically resolve in one to two weeks, a chalazion can persist for several weeks and may require intervention.

woman rubbing her eye on her way to work


Most chalazia do not cause any pain or other problems, but the lesion can swell and become red and tender. If a chalazion grows large enough, it may even affect your vision. Sometimes, the chalazion may spontaneously rupture, causing the entire eyelid to become inflamed and swollen.

Treatment for a Chalazion

A chalazion usually will resolve on its own within four weeks. If it lasts longer than that, you may consider consulting an eye doctor to learn about your treatment options.

Warm compress: Heat is the initial mainstay of therapy. Apply a warm, damp cloth (or microwaveable eye mask) on your eyelids with your eyes closed for 10 to 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times every day until the chalazion has resolved.

Antibiotic ointment: If the chalazion becomes infected with bacteria, you may be prescribed an antibiotic ointment.

Steroid injection: Your doctor may recommend a steroid injection to help reduce inflammation.

Surgical removal: If the chalazion does not improve after a few weeks, or if it affects your vision, an eye surgeon can help drain the lesion.

Can the chalazion recur?

Treatment for a chalazion is usually successful but it can recur. If a chalazion keeps coming back in the same region, you may need to undergo a biopsy to check for more serious causes.

Contact Virginia Eye Consultants

If you are suffering from a chalazion, or would like more information about the condition, please feel free to contact us to set up an appointment.

The doctors at Virginia Eye Consultants have either authored or reviewed the content on this site.




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