A swelling in the eyelid that may be painless

  • Age, gender, genetics, and lifestyle are not significant factors

If an oil-secreting gland in the eyelid becomes blocked, the gland enlarges, creating a swelling called a chalazion. A chalazion may at first look like a stye, but, unlike a stye, it is not on the eyelid margin. Usually, the pain and redness associated with a chalazion disappear after a few days. However, if the swelling is large, it may cause long-term discomfort, and pressure on the front of the eye can interfere with vision.


The swelling in the eyelid of this eye is a chalazion, caused by blockage of an oil-secreting gland.

What might be done?

If your doctor diagnoses a chalazion, he or she will probably wait for several weeks before arranging any treatment because it may disappear on its own. Meanwhile, if the chalazion is painful or irritating, holding a clean, warm, damp cloth against it may help.

A persistent chalazion can be treated by a simple operation in which a small cut is made in the inner surface of the eyelid and the contents of the swelling removed. The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia and is painless.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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