A chalazion is a swollen, pain-free bump on your eyelid. Your eyelid has tiny glands that produce an oily substance to help keep your eyes moist. When one of those glands gets blocked, you can wind up with a chalazion. Usually, you can treat a chalazion at home.


A chalazion forming on the underside of a person’s upper eyelid
A chalazion, or an eyelid cyst, is a red, swollen bump on your eyelid that forms when an oil gland (called a meibomian gland) becomes blocked.

What is a chalazion?

A chalazion is a red bump on your eyelid. It’s sometimes called an eyelid cyst or a meibomian cyst. It slowly forms when an oil gland (called a meibomian gland) becomes blocked. At first, the chalazion may be painful, but after a little time, it usually doesn’t hurt. A chalazion typically forms on the underside of your upper eyelid but may occasionally form on your lower eyelid.

Ordinarily, chalazia (the plural of chalazion) develop in adults between the ages of 30 and 50. They’re not common in children, but they can happen.

Chalazion vs. stye — what’s the difference?

It can be hard to tell the difference between a chalazion and a stye. A chalazion can form because of a stye, but they’re different conditions. While they both form due to blocked oil glands, styes are bacterial infections that cause the gland to swell. Styes appear at your eyelid’s edge, whereas chalazia appear farther back on your eyelid. In addition, styes can be painful, but chalazia generally aren’t painful.


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Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of a chalazion?

If you have a chalazion, you’ll notice a bump on your eyelid. It usually affects your upper lid. When a chalazion first develops, it may be painful, but the pain will quickly go away. As the chalazion grows, it may become red, swollen and tender.

Other chalazion symptoms may include:

  • Mild irritation, causing your eye to water.
  • Blurred vision from a larger chalazion pushing on your eyeball.
  • Entirely swollen eyelid.

What causes a chalazion?

A chalazion develops when something blocks a small oil gland in your eyelid. These glands (meibomian glands) help keep your eyes moist. A blocked gland begins retaining oil and swells. Eventually, the fluid will drain, causing irritation to your surrounding eyelid skin. This irritation can lead to a hard lump filled with the oil and fluid on your eyelid.

Are chalazia contagious?

No, chalazia aren’t contagious. Bacterial infections don’t cause them, so bacteria can’t spread from person to person.

What are the risk factors for developing a chalazion?

Chalazia are very common, and anyone can get them. But you may be more likely to get a chalazion if you:


What are the complications of chalazia?

Larger chalazia can press on the surface of your eye (cornea), which can lead to blurred and decreased vision.

Diagnosis and Tests

How is a chalazion diagnosed?

You’ll usually see an eye care specialist when you have a chalazion. You might see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. These healthcare providers can examine the chalazion and offer treatment options.

When you see an eye care specialist, you can expect:

  • Health history: Your provider will go over your complete health history. This information can help your provider find underlying issues that could be contributing to the formation of a chalazion.
  • External eye exam: Your provider will perform a complete eye exam, looking at your eye, eyelid, eyelashes and skin texture.
  • Thorough eyelid exam: Your provider will shine a bright light and use magnification to look at the base of your eyelashes. They’ll also check the oil glands’ openings on the underside of your eyelid.


Management and Treatment

What is the best way to get rid of a chalazion?

In most cases, you can treat a chalazion at home. Most chalazia go away in a month or less.

First, never push on a chalazion or try to pop it. You can cause inflammation and infection. Instead, for chalazion self-care, try:

  • Warm compresses: Wet a clean washcloth with warm water. Hold it on the affected eye for 15 minutes. Do this at least three times a day to help the blocked oil gland open up.
  • Good hygiene: Don’t wear eye makeup while you have a chalazion. After the chalazion drains, keep the area clean. Follow good eye health practices, and avoid touching your eyes.

If the chalazion doesn’t go away, you should seek help from an eye care specialist. Chalazion treatment in your provider’s office may include draining the fluid through a small cut (incision). You may also need an injection of steroids to reduce swelling and inflammation.


Can chalazia be prevented?

Some chalazia form because of styes. You may be able to avoid getting a chalazion if you can avoid getting a stye. You can avoid getting styes by following good hygiene. Some essential elements of good hygiene include:

  • Hand washing: Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Before you touch your eyes, make sure to wash your hands.
  • Contact lens care: Wash your hands before removing contact lenses. Make sure to thoroughly clean your contacts with a disinfectant and lens cleaning solution. Always throw daily and limited-time contacts away on schedule.
  • Face washing: Wash your face daily to remove dirt and makeup before going to bed. Your healthcare provider may recommend cleaning your eyelids with a special scrub or baby shampoo, especially if you’re prone to blepharitis.
  • Makeup hygiene: Throw away all of your old or expired makeup. Be sure to replace mascara and eye shadow every two to three months. Also, never share or use another person’s makeup.

Outlook / Prognosis

How many days does a chalazion last?

With proper home management, a chalazion should heal in a week. If left untreated, it can take four to six weeks for the chalazion to heal. Some can persist for many months.

Will I get more chalazia?

If you have one chalazion, you may get another. Always practice good hygiene to help prevent future chalazia.

Living With

When should I see my healthcare provider?

If you have a chalazion that doesn’t go away with home treatment, see an eye care specialist. They’ll be able to examine your eye and offer additional treatment options. You should also see your healthcare provider if you have recurring chalazia (eyelid bumps that come back).

What questions should I ask my healthcare provider?

If you have a chalazion, you may want to ask your provider:

  • Do chalazia usually go away on their own?
  • How long will it take the chalazion to heal?
  • What treatment options do you recommend?
  • What do you recommend I do to prevent future chalazia?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Keeping your eyes healthy is important for your vision and quality of life. Sometimes, though, things like chalazia — a swollen, pain-free bump on your eyelid — happen. While this eye condition can be worrisome, chalazia aren’t usually a cause for concern and are very treatable at home. Most cases go away on their own with self-care and good eyelid hygiene. If a chalazion persists and doesn’t seem to be getting any better, contact your eye care specialist.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 01/08/2024.

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