fbpx

COVID-19 update:  Our hospital is still fully open for appointments and admissions, however visitors are not permitted.

Chalazion (Cyst)

A chalazion is a small cyst (a fluid-filled swelling) in the eyelid, usually about 2-8 mm in size. A chalazion can occur on either one or both eyelids simultaneously and most commonly on the upper eyelid.

Chalazion (cyst)

Tiny glands under the inner surface of the eyelid, which make an oily fluid to help lubricate the eye, can get blocked. If this happens, the fluid is unable to escape and swells into a cyst. A chalazion is not normally infected but over time, inflammation causes a nodule (or granuloma) to form, which is a firm lump that remains for a long time. This lump is the chalazion. Chalazion are more likely to occur in people who have blepharitis, or skin conditions such as eczema.

Symptoms of a chalazion

  • A small lump on one or both eyelids.
  • Mild pain or irritation can sometimes occur
  • If infected, the eyelid will become more swollen and painful.
  • Distorted vision may occur but only if the cyst becomes to big that it presses on the eyeball.

Treatment

  • Watchful waiting – may be advised if the chalazion is not causing any problems, since 25-50% of people get better without any treatment. However the condition can take between 2 and 6 months or more to resolve.
  • Hot compresses – can help to ease discomfort. Hold a clean flannel that has been in hot water gently but firmly against the closed eye. Do this for 5-10 minutes, 3-4 times a day. Sometimes this warmth and slight pressure is enough to soften the contents of the cyst, helping it drain more easily. The water should be hot, but comfortable and not scalding.
  • Massage – after using a hot compress, gently massaging the cyst with a clean finger or cotton bud can encourage the cyst to drain.
  • Cleaning the eyelid – doing this twice per day removes grease and grime that may contribute to cysts forming. A weak solution of baby shampoo in warm water works well.
  • Chalazion Surgery – if the cyst does not go, or if it is causing troublesome symptoms, an operation can be done under local anaesthetic. The eyelid is numbed and a small cut is made on the inside of the eyelid to release the contents of the cyst.

Antibiotic ointments, drops and medicines will not make any difference since the contents of the cyst are sterile and infection-free.

Complications

Most cysts do not cause any major problems but rarely a cyst can become infected. This can spread to involve the whole eyelid and the tissues surrounding the eye.

The eyelid may be very swollen and red, difficult to open and there may be a lot of pain and fever. Sometimes the eyeball is pushed forward so that the eye sticks out more.

If there is a suspected infection, it is vital to see a medical professional urgently.

Recurrance

For most people a chalazion occurs just once. However, some people are prone to developing them and it may recur. You may be able to prevent it from recurring by using a hot compress and massaging the eyelids each morning.

Contact us

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

If you do not have a GP, then we have an in-house private GP practice that you can use. Alternatively we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstance.

If you have medical insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa PPP, Norwich Union), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation for any treatment and, in most cases, you will require a referral letter from your GP.

For the next available chalazion (cyst) appointment you can contact us by emailing londoneyeunit@hje.org.uk or by calling our team on 020 7078 3848

A woman receiving an eye examination

Eye Clinic

The Eye Unit offers exceptional diagnosis, intervention and aftercare for all eye conditions using modern treatment techniques and cutting-edge diagnostics for all eye complaints.

A patient speaking to a receptionist

Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, our private GP practice and Urgent Care Clinic, our services are led by some of London’s leading Consultants. For more information, and to find a service suitable for your care, find out more about the services that we offer.

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions relating to treatment options or pricing information, get in touch with us by filling out one of our contact boxes or giving us a call on 020 7078 3848.

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. You can simply refer yourself* and book an appointment.

If you have health insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa Health, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation before any treatment, and in most cases you will also require a referral letter from your GP.

If you are not registered with a GP, we have an in-house private GP practice you can use. Alternatively, we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstances.

*Please note – for investigations such as X-rays and MRIs, a referral will be required. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

    Make an enquiry

    Latest articles

    The latest news, insights and views from St John and Elizabeth Hospital.

    Find out what we’re doing to keep you safe, read expert articles and interviews with our leading specialist Consultants, learn more about common conditions and get your questions answered.

    gallbladder attack

    04th December 2021

    Are you having a gallbladder attack? Find out more about the causes, symptoms and treatment

    A gallbladder attack can happen at a moment’s notice and cause aggressive pain….

    overactive bladder

    02nd December 2021

    Constantly need to pee? How to treat an overactive bladder

    If you regularly get the feeling that you’ve “got to go”, you’re not…

    partial knee replacement

    29th November 2021

    Pros and cons of partial knee replacement: Is it right for you?

    More than 10 million people in the UK have osteoarthritis or a similar…

    hearing loss

    19th November 2021

    Surprising facts about hearing loss you may not know

    Did you know that hearing loss is the second most common disability in the UK? It affects one in six UK adults, but shockingly, people with hearing loss wait an average of 10 years

    private healthcare

    02nd November 2021

    Private healthcare vs the NHS: Which should you choose?

    Whether you’re not feeling well and struggling to get a doctor’s appointment, been…

    nhs waiting list

    29th October 2021

    NHS waiting lists: How long is too long? (and what can you do about it?)

    The NHS is a beacon of hope for millions of people all over…

    spine - back awareness week

    21st October 2021

    Back Care Awareness Week 2021: Improving your back pain when working from home

    Every year, back pain charity BackCare (the National Back Pain Association) shines a light on one of the most prevalent complaints of modern times.

    woman with good skin - private dermatology care

    18th October 2021

    Reasons why you should see a private dermatologist in London

    Here’s a look at some common skin conditions that may require the attention of a private dermatologist in London or elsewhere to clear them up.

    looking after your vision

    14th October 2021

    Looking after your vision with check-ups at a London eye clinic

    It’s easy to overlook eye health until problems occur that may be difficult to treat. Regular check-ups at our London Eye Clinic will put your mind at rest.

    knees and elbows

    11th October 2021

    Elbow treatments: A look at different injuries and how they’re fixed

    Elbow fractures, breaks and other injuries and conditions require specialised elbow treatment plans so that you can get back to normal.

    Doctor with a stethoscope

    07th October 2021

    Benefits of a private health care check-up

    Detecting problems before they have a chance to become serious is one of the main reasons for having a health care check-up — but should you go public or private?

    nurse tenderly holding a baby - St John and St Elizabeth Hospital

    04th October 2021

    Growing up great with private health care for children

    Looking after a developing child is never easy, and there are lots of…