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Chalazion

What is this condition?

A chalazion is an enlarged gland in the upper or lower eyelid. This common eye disorder usually develops over several weeks. A chalazion may become large enough to press on the eyeball, causing astigmatism.

A chalazion is generally benign and chronic, and can occur at any age. In some people, it's apt to recur. A large chalazion seldom subsides spontaneously.

What causes it?

A meibomian (sebaceous) gland in the eyelid becomes inflamed: eventually the gland's duct becomes plugged, causing the characteristic swelling of a chalazion.

What are its symptoms?

A chalazion occurs as a painless, hard lump that usually points toward the conjunctival side of the eyelid.

How is it diagnosed?

The doctor will examine the eye and palpate the eyelid to disclose a small bump or nodule. Frequently recurring chalazions, especially iL an adult, require a biopsy to rule our meibomian cancer.

How is it treated?

Initially, the doctor will apply warm compresses to open the duct of the gland. Sometimes he'll instill sulfonamide eyedrops.

If such therapy fails, or if the chalazion presses on the eyeball or causes a severe cosmetic problem, steroid injection or incision and curettage under local anesthesia may be necessary.

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