Children's Health and Wellness

Chalazion in Children

What is a chalazion?

A chalazion (kuh-LAY-zee-un) is a slow-growing, painless lump in the eyelid that forms because of the swelling of an oil gland. It’s more common in adults between ages 30 and 50 than in children.

What causes a chalazion?

A chalazion is caused by a blocked oil gland in the eyelid. This can occur after a viral infection, or with a skin problem such as seborrhea or acne rosacea.

Who is at risk for a chalazion?

A child is more at risk for a chalazion if he or she has any of these:

  • Viral infection
  • Seborrhea
  • Acne rosacea
  • Chronic blepharitis
  • Tuberculosis

These risk factors are more common in adults than children.

What are the symptoms of a chalazion?

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
  • Pain or trouble seeing if the chalazion is large

The symptoms of a chalazion can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is a chalazion diagnosed?

The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she may also ask about your family’s health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Tests are not usually needed to confirm the diagnosis.

How is a chalazion treated?

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

A small chalazion may go away on without treatment in a couple of months. A large chalazion or an infection 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

If symptoms don’t get better, surgery may be needed to drain or remove the chalazion.

What are possible complications of a chalazion?

If the chalazion becomes infected, the entire eyelid may become swollen and painful.

Key points about a chalazion

  • A chalazion is a slow-growing, painless lump in the eyelid that forms because of the swelling of an oil gland. 
  • It’s caused by a blocked oil gland in the eyelid.
  • If the chalazion becomes infected, the entire eyelid may become swollen and painful.
  • A small chalazion may go away on without treatment in a couple of months.
  • A large chalazion or an infection caused by it may need to be treated with warm, moist compresses and antibiotic eye drops.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s health care provider:
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • At the visit, write down the names of new medicines, treatments, or tests, and any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
  • If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.
Online Source: American Optometric Associationhttp://www.aoa.org/x9762.xml
Online Editor: Geller, Arlene
Online Medical Reviewer: Bogus, William J. OD, FAAO
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 11/6/2015
© 2000-2015 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.