What's That Strange Bump On Your Eyelid?

Posted on: 14 March 2016

Do you have a nodule-like bump that recently appeared on your upper or lower eyelid? Chances are, you're suffering from what is known as a chalazion. Thankfully, chalazia look a lot more serious than they actually are. You're going to be just fine. Read on to learn more about what causes these bumps and how you should treat them.

What causes chalazia? What are they?

The tissues on the inside of your eyelid contain little oil glands that release fatty acid secretions that help lubricate the eye. Just like the oil glands on your skin can become blocked, leading to a pimple, these glands in your eyelid can become blocked, leading to a chalazion. The bump contains pus, which is a mixture of oil secretions, bacteria, and white blood cells. A chalazion is actually just like a pimple, but you cannot see the pus pocket directly since it is on the inside of your eyelid. You just see the bump.

There's usually no specific or worrisome cause for chalazia. They are more common in people who suffer from rosacea and eyelid irritation, but developing one does not mean you're doing anything wrong or that there's anything serious wrong with you.

How can you treat a chalazion?

 There's usually no need to seek professional treatment for your chalazion. Most will go away on their own within a week or two. You can encourage the bump to go down faster by holding a warm compress against your eye a few times per day. Massaging your eyelid (gently) can also help encourage the chalazion to drain.

What should you do if the chalazion does not go away?

If it has been a few weeks and your chalazion is still there, or if the bump has become so large that it's impeding your vision, it's a good idea to call your optometrist. Your eye doctor may prescribe an oral or topical antibiotic. This will help your body fight off the bacteria within the bump, causing it to shrink faster. In the most stubborn of cases, your eye doctor may need to numb your eye and lance the chalazion to drain the contents. Remember, this is really the worst-case scenario. Almost all chalazia heal without this intervention.

If you're developing chalazia in conjunction with skin redness and acne-like bumps on your face, talk to your doctor. This could be a sign of rosacea, a condition that irritates the skin and eyelids. Prescription treatments are available to keep symptoms under control.