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.
A 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.