How to Get Rid of a Chalazion
A chalazion is a cyst which forms on the outside of the eyelid. It is usually found on the upper and not the lower eyelid. A chalazion is similar to a stye, but it is different, in that a stye forms on the bottom part of the eyelid, or even under the eyelid, and if usually very painful. A chalazion is usually larger than a stye, and depending on the situation may or may not cause any discomfort. Unlike other infections of the eye, like pink eye, a chalazion is not contagious to other people; however, they can become a chronic problem for some people.
Causes of Chalazion
The most common cause of a chalazion is a bacterial infection in the eyelid, which is often a result of poor hygiene. For this reason, people who are prone to developing chalazions should take extra care to wash their hands regularly, refrain from touching their eyes, and regularly wash their eyelids. By practicing safe hygiene, the likelihood of chalazions re- occurring is reduced. For someone who already has a history of them, they are still very likely to occur again, but the frequency will be reduced when taking additional precautions.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Chalazion
Usually, a trip to the doctor is not necessary for a chalazion. The symptoms of a chalazion is fairly easy to identify early on. First, you will notice a small bump beginning to form on the eyelid. Overtime it will begin to increase in size. It most likely will not be painful when left alone, but may show some redness and swelling and may be sensitive to the touch. If the bump becomes too painful, and is not responding in a couple of days to treatment at home, then a trip to the doctor may be appropriate for additional treatment.
Gently Massaging the Area
One of the best ways to help speed up the healing of the chalazion is to gently massage the area. The reason for massaging the area is because it helps to break up the oil that is blocking the area, allowing the eye to begin to heal itself naturally. As previously mentioned, it is important to practice good hygiene to prevent problems with chalazions. Before massaging the eye, make sure to wash your hands with warm water and an antibacterial soap. Once your hands are clean, begin to gently massage the area, in the opposite direction of the chalazion. Repeat the same process a couple times a day to get the best results.
Washing the Area Regularly
Besides practicing good hygiene, it is necessary to also take the time to wash the eyes. Before washing the eye, take the time to wash your hands with warm water and an antibacterial soap. Then take a tear free shampoo, like an infant shampoo, and use one drop to wash the eyes. After washing the area, ensure you rinse off and of the shampoo with warm water. Make sure to keep your eyes closed when washing the eyes. While the bubbles are meant to be tear free, it may still create a mild discomfort if it gets inside the eyes. Keeping your eyes closed will also help to ensure any debris that was on the outside of your eyes while washing them from entering the internal eye. If you prefer to use a solution specifically meant for washing the eye area, there are some over the counter products available at the pharmacy, as well as prescription solutions available from your doctor.
Apply a Warm Compress
One of the easiest ways to apply a warm compress is by using a face washcloth, wetting it with warm water, and holding it to the area. Before preparing the warm compress, again wash your hands with warm water and an antibacterial soap. This helps to ensure you do not get any additional bacterial from your hands onto the compress while preparing it or on your eye while holding it in place. A basic warm compress can consist of warm water. Another option is to use a solution you prepare to help relieve the healing of the chalazion. This solution should either be home remedy that has already proven to be beneficial for use on a chalazion, or it should be obtained from your doctor to ensure it is safe for use.
Solutions for Home Remedies
There are a number of home remedies that can be used either as a solution as a warm compress, or can be used separately to treat the area. One option is to use equal part of epsom salt and warm water. Then use the warm solution on a face washcloth as a compress to hold on the eye. A second option is to use tea to treat the area. Green tea and chamomile tea are ideal for use, but a regular black tea will work as well. The tea can then be applied to the eyes directly using a cotton ball or gauze pad. Or a cooled tea bag can also be applied directly to the eye. A third home remedy is to use aloe vera. Do not use aloe that has been processed and put into a gel form, often sold at the pharmacy. These may contain other ingredients which are not ideal for use around the eye. Instead, use the juice or gel you can extract directly from a plant.
Seeking a Doctor’s Advice
There are a number of times when a chalazion can clear up entirely on its own without a visit to the doctor. However, there are some times when a visit is needed. If you have tried a warm compress, washing the eye, and massaging the area, and the bump does not improve or significantly worsens, the doctor may need to provide additional assistance. Usually, a chalazion is able to be treated by your primary care physician, but there are times when an opthamologist need to treat the eye. Unless you have a history of recurrent chalazions, or your doctor recommends a specialist, start at your general physician’s office for treatment before calling the opthamologist. If you have not tried these treatments though first though, be prepared for your doctor to ask you to try these first before they prescribe anything else to treat the eye.
The majority of chalazions resolve with home remedies, warm compresses, and massaging the area. There are rare cases though when medication needs to be used to treat the condition. These medications can only be obtained from a physician. Usually they are in the form of topical eye drops. Oral antibiotics are often not used for the treatment of chalazions, but if a doctor suspects there is another underlying infection that needs to be treated, they may prescribe antibiotics. More common is the use of steroids in an eye drop to help reduce inflammation, and allow the area to begin healing itself. Even more rare is the use of an injectable steroid to the area to reduce the inflammation, but may be chosen by your doctor in certain situations. While the treatment is prove to be effective, there are potential complications when using an injection, making it less frequent of a choice for treatment.
Leave Surgical Interventions to an Ophthalmologist
There are times when it may be necessary for the chalazion to be surgically treated. When this is the case, it is important to make sure the physician performing the procedure specializes in the treatment of the eye. If not, you risk additional complications or scarring to the eye which is not reversible. When this procedure is performed, the doctor uses a topical anesthesia to numb the area. A clamp is then applied to the eyelid to invert the lid making it possible for the doctor to access the area. The doctor then creates an incision with a sharp blade, before proceeding to remove the granuloma. The area is then curettarized, with great care being taken to ensure additional tissue is not damaged in the process. Once the process is completed, the clamp is removed, and the doctor applies an antibiotic ointment to the eye to prevent any infection.
Prevention of Chalazions
Once you have been able to effectively treat the chalazion, it is important to remember that you are more prone to them again in the future. As a result, there are a number of steps which should be taken regularly to discourage them from appearing. Proper hand washing is important. There are a number of times throughout the day when people rub their eyes and do not even realize it, making it very important for hands to be washed regularly. Taking the time to daily wash the eye area with tear free shampoo is also beneficial for preventing chalazions from appearing. While washing the eye area, and the eyelids are closed, is an ideal time to also gently massage the eye area. Doing all of these as part of your daily shower routine only takes a few moments and can go a long way in preventing future chalazions from forming.