Chalazion in children and adults (Stye)

A chalazion is a small bump in the eyelid caused by a blockage of a tiny oil gland. A chalazion progresses in the meibomian glands that produce the fluid that lubricates the eye.

A chalazion is caused by an obstruction of the duct that drains one of these glands.

Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They can include:

  • A small bump in the eyelid that can be felt
  • Swelling of the eyelid over time
  • Blurring of vision and distortion of the shape of the eyelid
  • Pain or trouble seeing if the chalazion is large

A chalazion will often disappear without treatment in one to two months. The primary treatment is to apply warm moist compress for 10-15mins at least 2-4 times a day. This will soften the hardened blocked duct and it will improve drainage and healing.

However, a chalazion may become red, swollen, tender and painful. Occasionally, it will cause the whole eye to swell suddenly requiring urgent review.

Antibiotic eye drops and ointment may be prescribed.

Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

Most chalazions in children go away in a couple of months. A large chalazion or an infection called cellulitis caused by it may need to be treated. Treatment may include:

  • Applying warm, moist compresses to your child's eyes for 15 minutes at a time several times a day
  • Telling your child not to rub his or her eyes or squeeze or rub the chalazion
  • Having your child wash his or her hands often
  • Antibiotic eye drops or ointment
  • Oral antibiotics if there is an infected chalazion
  • Surgery to drain or remove the chalazion if symptoms does not get better