A chalazion is a cyst in the eyelid that is caused by inflammation of a blocked meibomian gland. Chalazions differ from styes (hordeolums) in that they are usually painless, apart from the tenderness caused when they swell up, and in size (chalazia tend to be larger than styes). A chalazion may eventually disappear on its own after a few months, though more often than not, some treatment is necessary.
The primary treatment is application of warm compresses for 10 to 20 minutes at least 4 times a day. This may soften the hardened oils blocking the duct and promote drainage and healing.
Topical antibiotic eye drops or ointment are sometimes used for the initial acute infection. Chalazia will often disappear without further treatment within a few months and virtually all will reabsorb within two years.
If a chalazion continues to enlarge, or fail to settle within a few months, it may be surgically removed using local anesthesia. This is usually done from underneath the eyelid to avoid a scar on the skin.