Eyelid Cysts (including chalazion)

Eyelid cysts are very common. Most are benign but they can be unsightly and uncomfortable. They can sometimes become inflamed or infected.

An eyelid cyst may require removal or biopsy to exclude the possibility of a malignant lesion.

chalazion is a specific cyst that forms in one of the meibomian glands of the eyelid. The meibomian glands are in the tarsal plate ( a semi-rigid sheet of tissue in each eyelid). Each upper eyelid has approximately 50 meibomian glands and each lower eyelid has approximately 25.

Meibomian glands usually secrete oil onto the eyelid margin and tear film to help stabilise it. If the duct becomes blocked a cyst (chalazion) can develop. This can remain as an unsightly painless swelling but can also become painful and red due to inflammation or infection.

A chalazion can develop at any age. It is seen more commonly in people who have blepharitis (eyelid margin inflammation).

Click here to find out more about blepharitis and it’s treatment.

Any eyelid cyst can cause distortion of vision by pressing on the eyeball.

Although rare, some eyelid eyelid cancers (sebaceous gland carcinoma) can mimic a chalazion. It is important to seek advice from a trained eye specialist if you develop an eyelid cyst. It is even more important to seek advice if you develop a recurrent chalazion following apparently successful previous treatment. A biopsy of the lesion can exclude the possibility of an eyelid cancer.

Treatment of chalazion

  • Chalazion treatment includes application of hot compresses (an EyebagTM is excellent for this) and treatment of any underlying blepharitis with regular lid hygiene. Specifically designed wipes or solutions (e.g.Blephasol or Ocusoft Plus) are best for this.Often this treatment can help unblock the meibomian gland duct and allow the cyst to resolve.
  • Steroid injections can also help chalazia settle.
  • The most popular treatment for a persistent chalazion is an incision & curettage (I&C) procedure. This is a short outpatient procedure performed under local anaesthetic.
  • A small incision is made on the inside of the eyelid to enter the cyst. A small curette is used to remove the contents of the chalazion. No stitches are required. The eye is padded for a few hours and some antibiotic ointment is applied to the eye for a few days after the procedure.
  • If the chalazion has been present for several months the wall of the cyst can become thickened. In this case it is helpful to inject some steroid at the time of the I&C procedure to encourage that thickening to settle.

Other eyelid and facial lumps and bumps

Most other cysts and eyelid lesions arise from the skin or just under the skin. These can usually be removed under local anaesthesia.

Although the vast majority are benign it os often wise to send the lesion for analysis (histology) to exclude the possibility of a sinister pathology.

Your consultation

The success and safety of your eyelid surgery procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your cosmetic eyelid surgery consultation. You'll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.

Please be prepared to discuss:

  • Why you want the surgery, your expectations and desired outcome
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and previous medical treatments
  • Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol & tobacco
  • Previous surgeries

The following will also take place at your consultation

  • Evaluation of your general health and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
  • An assessment of your vision and a thorough eye examination including a slit-lamp examination of the eye.
  • Photographs for your medical record
  • A discussion about treatment options
  • Recommendations for treatment most appropriate for you
  • Discussion about likely outcomes of eyelid surgery and risks or potential complications
  • The type of anaesthesia that will be used (This is usually “Twilight anaesthesia” using local anaesthesia with intravenous sedation administered by a consultant anaesthetist. However, a full general anaesthetic can be arranged if you prefer this option)

After the consultation I will send you a letter summarising your concerns and desires relating to your appearance along with my assessment and advice to you regarding treatment options.

You will also receive a quote for your proposed surgery and have the opportunity to attend for a further consultation prior to proceeding should you wish to ask any further questions.

Arrange a consultation