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Chalazion (meibomian cyst)

A meibomian cyst is a benign lump which can appear on the eyelid. The cyst is caused by the blockage of one of the oily glands in the lid. The mouth of the gland becomes plugged and the gland becomes swollen and red and may become infected. (This kind of cyst may be mistaken for a stye which is the blockage of one of the more superficial glands near the lashes).

meibomian cyst

What is the treatment?

The cysts sometimes spontaneously improve and require no treatment. In the early stages of the cyst, applying a hot compress to the lid may help to encourage the cyst to discharge. If the cyst does not resolve spontaneously, a small operation may be needed.

The operation is a very small procedure carried out in the outpatients department. A local anaesthetic injection is given to freeze the lid. A small incision is made on the underside of the lid to allow the contents of the cyst to discharge. Some antibiotic ointment is applied to the eye and a pad is put on the eye.

A few hours later the pad may be removed. There may be some blood and ointment on the pad when it is removed which you can wipe away with cotton wool and cool boiled water.

You will be asked to insert some antibiotic ointment into the eye for about a week.

Side effects

The lid may be bruised and you may have some blood in the eye when you remove the pad. There may still be a small lump in the lid due to the persistence of scar tissue but this should settle over a period of a few weeks. Occasionally, other cysts may develop in the same area as the original cyst but cleaning your lids regularly may prevent this.

Please note If your eye is padded, do not attempt to drive or operate machinery because your distance judgement may be reduced.

If you have any questions regarding this information, please ask your eye doctor.


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