Labelled Diagram of the Eye

Labelled diagram of the structure of the retina

A chalazion is also known as a meibomian cyst and a meibomian gland lipogranuloma.

A chalazion is a cyst in an eyelid.

A more technical and detailed definition of a chalazion is "a lesion of lipogranulomatous inflammation centered on a dysfunctional meibomian gland".

This may be explained simply in terms of inflammation due to blockage of the duct of a gland in the eyelid. That is, a chalazion is the result of a swollen sebaceous gland in the eyelid, caused by chronic (long-term, peristent) inflammation following blockage of the gland's duct.

A possible root cause of a chalazion is incomplete removal of eye-makeup, causing the oil from the cosmetic product(s) to gather in the glands. This condition is also relatively common in patients with posterior blepharitis.

Possible treatments:

  • Topical antibiotic eye drops or ointment may be used for the initial acute infection.
  • Surgical incision and curettage of the gland may be appropriate in some cases.
  • Sometimes spontaneous resolution may occur, especially if the chalazion is small.

Potential complications (if untreated):

  • There is a risk that the blocked gland may become secondarily infected, resulting in irritation, pain, and discharge.
  • A large chalazion can cause astigmatism due to pressure on the cornea of the eye.

More about Ophthalmology:

This section includes short definitions of many diseases, disorders, and conditions of the eyes and visual system.
For definitions of other terms in this category, choose from the list to the left (but note that this is not a complete/exhaustive list).

Other related pages include

For further information see also our pages of books about ophthalmology.

The following books may also be of interest:

The Aging Eye (Harvard Medical School)
MCQ Companion to the Eye (Textbook)
The Secret of Perfect Vision: How You Can Prevent and Reverse Nearsightedness
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM) Glaucoma: The Essential Treatments and Advances That Could Save Your Sight

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