The term chalazion comes from a Greek word meaning a small lump. The margins of the eyelids include openings for tiny Meibomian glands that secrete oil as part of your eyes’ tear film. Occasionally these glands become inflamed, infected or blocked, producing a tender swelling on the internal eyelid. If the swelling does not resolve, it may harden and form a solid lump on the middle of the outer lid. This lump is called a chalazion. Chalazia are typically not painful unless they are accompanied by an ongoing infection.
The first course of treatment for a chalazion is to clean your eyelid and apply a warm, moist washcloth for ten to fifteen minutes several times a day. After approximately seven days, the chalazion should show signs of dissipating. If it does not dissipate, the chalazion can be surgically removed from the inside of the eyelid using local anesthesia.
The animation below provides an overview of a chalzaion.