What is an Eyelid Cyst?
An eyelid cyst also referred to as chalazion or a meibomian cyst is a painless inflammation characterized by a lump formed on the upper or lower eyelid. An eyelid cyst is non-communicable and usually does not affect vision, but a large lump can put pressure on the eye. Chalazion is commonly seen in adults 30 to 50 years of age, and also in children.
What are the Symptoms of an Eyelid Cyst?
An eyelid cyst manifests as a painless, red, lump on the eyelid that may cause excess tearing. It starts out very small, but can soon grow into the size of a pea. A large eyelid cyst may cause blurred vision due to pressure exerted on the eye.
What are the Causes of an Eyelid Cyst?
An eyelid cyst is caused due to a gland known as the meibomian gland present in the lining of the eyelids, which lubricates the eye surface. The blockage of these glands may result in the accumulation of oil in the gland until it eventually breaks open, releasing the oil into the neighbouring tissue. This is what causes the inflammation.
What are the Risk Factors for Developing an Eyelid Cyst?
- Chronic blepharitis, inflammation of the eyelids or eyelashes
- Acne Rosacea, redness due to blockage of blood vessels on the face
- Seborrhoea, overactive sebaceous glands causing oily skin
- Viral infection
How is an Eyelid Cyst Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of an eyelid cyst is based on medical history and the physical examination of the lump on your eyelid.
What are the Treatments for an Eyelid Cyst?
Most eyelid cysts tend to subside without the need for any treatment in a few weeks to a month, but they often reoccur.
Treatment options may include:
- Regular application of warm moist compressions on your eyes for about 10 minutes four times a day is recommended.
- Topical antibiotic medication may also be prescribed for the eye.
- Maintaining good eye hygiene by regularly washing your hands and rinsing your eyes with warm water.
- Rubbing or squeezing the affected area of the eye is not advisable.
When symptoms do not improve, surgical removal of the cyst may be recommended. Incision and curettage is a surgical method for removing an eyelid cyst and is performed under local anaesthesia. A clamp is placed to hold the eyelid backwards. A small cut is made with a surgical blade from the underside of the eyelid. The inflammatory debris is removed from the cyst and the cavity is cleaned thoroughly. An antibiotic ointment will be applied and the eye is padded for 24 hours. You will be advised to apply antibiotic ointment at least 3-4 times a day for one week.
How is an Eyelid Cyst Prevented?
You can prevent an eyelid cyst by following a few measures, which include:
- Washing your hands before touching eyes.
- Cleaning your glasses and contact lenses regularly.
Following your doctor’s instructions, if you are at a risk of developing an eyelid cyst.
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