What Is Chalazion Surgery?

Brittany Golledge

Chalazion surgery is a simple medical procedure designed to drain chalazion cysts that develop on the eyelid. A chalazion cyst, also known as a meibomian cyst, is a fluid-filled lump near the eye that is caused by the obstruction of an oil gland. In most cases, chalazion cysts can be treated at home with warm compresses and light massage. When a chalazion growth continues to enlarge and begins to obstruct vision, surgery becomes necessary to drain the cyst.

Medicated eye drops must be used to prevent infection following chalazion surgery.
Medicated eye drops must be used to prevent infection following chalazion surgery.

Chalazion cysts are caused by a blockage of the oil ducts in the eye that are responsible for releasing sebum, which is a fluid that helps to lubricate the eye. When excess oil is prevented from flowing out of the eye, it begins to accumulate rapidly and eventually leads to the formation of a fluid-filled cyst on the eyelid. A chalazion cyst is relatively easy to identify; a physical examination of the eye is usually all that is needed to confirm diagnosis. In certain cases, a biopsy must be performed to rule out other conditions that could be causing inflammation of the eye, including skin cancer.

If a chalazion cyst develops on the eyelid, surgery may be necessary to drain the cyst.
If a chalazion cyst develops on the eyelid, surgery may be necessary to drain the cyst.

The goal of chalazion surgery is to drain the cyst. The procedure is performed by an ophthalmologist at a hospital or eye care center. Chalazion surgery is an outpatient treatment, which means patients do not have to spend the night in the hospital. In most cases, only local anesthesia is needed to perform the surgery, though general anesthesia can be administered to children to prevent movement that might cause injury to the eye.

Complications following chalazion surgery are rare, but could involve infection and bleeding.
Complications following chalazion surgery are rare, but could involve infection and bleeding.

The surgery itself is actually quite simple. A chalazion cyst can be removed through a small incision in the back of the eyelid or an incision along the front of the eyelid. The lump is drained and pressure is quickly applied to absorb fluid. Stitches may or may not be needed, depending on the size and location of the incision.

Using old, thick mascara may cause a blockage in eyelid glands and lead to inflammation.
Using old, thick mascara may cause a blockage in eyelid glands and lead to inflammation.

Recovery from chalazion surgery is rapid and most patients experience only minor discomfort. After surgery, medicated eye drops must be used to control swelling and prevent infection. It is important to protect the eye and keep the eyelids dry and clean for the first week or so after surgery.

Medicated eye drops will be used following chalazion surgery to help prevent infection and control swelling.
Medicated eye drops will be used following chalazion surgery to help prevent infection and control swelling.

Chalazion surgery is considered a safe and effective option for the treatment of a chalazion cyst. Complications are rare but may include infection and blood loss. There is a slight risk that the chalazion will recur over time.

Eye surgery poses a small risk of infection.
Eye surgery poses a small risk of infection.

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