What is a chalazion?
A chalazion (kuh-LAY-zee-uhn) is a lump or cyst on the eyelid. When a small, oil-producing gland in the cover (the meibomian gland) becomes blocked, the oil develops in the tissue, causing inflammation.
A chalazion can begin as small as a poppy seed and– throughout days or weeks– grow to the size of a pea. You may observe your child’s eye tearing a little, but the condition isn’t contagious.
Is a chalazion the same as a sty?
Chalazia are frequently confused with sties, however a sty in the eye is better to the surface area of the skin and often has discharge, inflammation, and swelling. A sty is caused by a skin infection and can be painful. A chalazion isn’t really tender or painful (unless it becomes infected), however it can last longer than a sty.
Can a chalazion hurt my child’s vision?
A small chalazion won’t affect your child’s vision, however a large one can put pressure on her eyeball and cause her sight to be distorted.
If this is the first time your child has actually had a chalazion, give her doctor a call. The doctor may wish to see her to confirm the diagnosis or refer you to an eye doctor to dismiss a more serious eye infection.
How is a chalazion treated in children?
Chalazia generally go away on their own within a few weeks to a few months. With treatment, they may vanish more quickly.
If the chalazion is still in the early stages, some physicians will advise using warm compresses. Compresses encourage drainage by softening the hardened oils that are obstructing the duct.
Here’s the drill:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before you touch the affected area so as not to introduce a new type of bacteria and cause a secondary infection.
- Wash your child’s hands too, considering that he’ll probably be rubbing his eyes.
- Hold your child on your lap in whatever method is most comfortable for him.
- Use a warm compress to the area for 10 to 15 minutes, at least 4 times a day, until the swelling has actually disappeared. Use a tidy washcloth with very warm water. You’ll need to keep moistening the washcloth to keep it warm.
- Depending upon your child’s age, you can help the time go by listening to music together or talking with your child.
- After applying the compress, you might attempt gently rubbing the area around the cyst to assist unclog the clogged duct. Do not aim to “pop” the chalazion to drain it.
- The doctor might give you some eye drops or antibiotic ointment to smear on the edge of the lid if it’s possible your child has a secondary infection.
What if the chalazion will not go away?
If your child’s chalazion doesn’t react to the compresses, your doctor will refer you to an eye doctor for additional treatment. The eye doctor may decide to inject the chalazion with steroids, which ought to stop the inflammation and cause the swelling to disappear in a week or 2. A second injection may be needed.
If the injections do not work, the swelling can be eliminated surgically. Unless the child is old enough to remain still while awake (at least school age), however, the procedure has to be done using basic anesthesia.
For this factor, unless the chalazion is large and disfiguring or is impacting a child’s vision, ophthalmologists generally suggest waiting to carry out surgery up until the child is older and much better able to remain still. Then the surgery can be done using local anesthesia.
How to prevent chalazia?
Once a child has had one chalazion, she’s more likely to obtain another one.
Some doctors say there’s no other way to avoid these cysts from establishing in individuals who are prone to them. (Children who have chronic blepharitis are also most likely to develop chalazia.)
Other physicians advise a day-to-day regimen of cover cleaning to remove bacteria and dead skin cells so the pores remain open. If your child’s doctor prescribes lid washing, you’ll be given detailed directions about how to do it and whether to use baby hair shampoo or an industrial lid-cleansing preparation.