Eyelid Lumps & Bumps

Eyelid Lumps & Bumps

Eyelid lumps and bumps can be annoying and sometimes concerning to our patients. The upper and lower eyelids contain small oil producing glands. If one or more of these glands should become inflamed, a small lump, called a chalazion, can form.


A chalazion is an inflammatory reaction to trapped oil secretions in the eyelid rather than by bacteria, although it is possible that a chalazion can become infected from bacteria. It is easy to confuse a chalazion with a stye which is an actual infection of an eyelash follicle that usually forms a red, sore lump at the eyelid margin.

If you develop a chalazion there are several methods of treatment that we might recommend depending on the size and your symptoms. Sometimes if the chalazion is small and you have no symptoms it may simply resolve on its own. If the chalazion is large it may cause some blurriness of your vision in which case we may prescribe application of warm compresses. By holding a clean washcloth that has been soaked in hot water against the closed eyelid for 5-10 minutes at a time, 3-4 times per day and by re-soaking the washcloth in hot water several times to maintain its heat, most chalazia will disappear with a couple of weeks. Sometimes we may find it necessary to also prescribe an antibiotic to help things along.

Surgical Excision or Incision is sometimes necessary for large chalazia as they often do not respond well to warm compresses with or without antibiotics. By surgically opening the chalazion after any inflammation is reduced we are able to treat the large chalazia.

NOTE: The majority of chalazia respond quite well to the treatments described above. Some patients seem prone to recurrences of chalazia, often in the same location. If this occurs we may recommend a biopsy to rule out an underlying problem or a more serious problem.