What chalazions are, how to treat them, and how to prevent them.
As humans, our eyes are important to us. They express how we feel and help us engage socially with one another, not to mention see the world around us and enable for interaction with it. Most people want to make eye contact when they’re talking to others, but when you have a blemish on your eye, it’s tempting to cover up with a pair of sunglasses, especially if you don’t know what that blemish is. This is sometimes a chalazion, a bizarre but benign cyst that grows on your eyelid. Let’s explore how to treat and prevent it.
What Is a Chalazion?
If you look in the mirror and notice that one of your eyelids is red and swollen, chances are that you have a chalazion. It looks like a stye but, unlike one, it isn’t painful or itchy. That’s because while styes are usually signs of infections, chalazions are most commonly formed by your eyelid’s oil glands clogging, similar to a clogged pore on your nose forming a pimple. Still, left untreated, it can get bigger and press against your eye, causing blurry vision. It can also become tender and result in mild irritation and tearing because the gland needs to be clear for healthy tears.
How to Treat a Chalazion
Like a pimple, it may be tempting to try to squeeze or drain the chalazion at home, in effect, to ‘pop it,’ and simply carry on with your day. Do not attempt this, as a chalazion doesn’t have a head the way a pimple does, and you will only aggravate it and cause further irritation. Instead, avoid touching it. Apply a warm compress to it for 10-15 minutes, between four to six times a day instead. A chalazion will typically disappear from several weeks to a month after first appearing, though they do reoccur. Chalazia, meaning more than one chalazion, are more common for people aged 30 to 50. If your chalazion hasn’t drained within a month by itself, or if you find yourself with a recurring chalazion, you’ll want to book an appointment with an optometrist. They will perform a thorough eye examination, looking at everything from the lid structure, skin texture, and eyelash appearance, in order to determine the best course of action.
How to Prevent a Chalazion
If you’ve had one chalazion, you may have another on its way. Knowing this, there are a few things you can do to prevent or at least postpone them. With clean hands, carefully massage the eyelids for several minutes every day to help promote drainage so that your oil glands don’t clog. This should be the only time you’re touching your eyelids. Always keep your eyelids clean and your hands away. Every time before you remove or put on contact lenses, wash your hands thoroughly. You should also wash your face before bedtime to remove dirt and makeup. Additionally, replace your eye makeup every three months. If you have had multiple chalazia, your optometrist may recommend a topical treatment, such as eyelid scrubs.