Eyelids contain special oil producing glands (meibomian glands) that drain their secretions on the eye surface, and are necessary to prevent the tear film from evaporating too quickly.

If the meibomian gland openings get plugged, the resulting collection of oils can act as a “foreign body”, resulting in an inflammatory response and a rapid red lump on the eyelid. Such lumps or cysts can be absorbed very slowly, but usually require surgical removal if they do not disappear by themselves; these are usually called chalazia.


The regular cleaning of the eyelids using warm compresses and the use of a local antibiotic ointment on the edge of the eyelids reduces the possibility of chalazion formation in people who are more susceptible. Cysts may disappear through this treatment, but if they remain they may need to be removed by an incision and curettage. Omega fatty acids (for example, linseed oil supplements) are believed to improve the eyelid glands function and reduce the risk of oil accumulation and the formation of cysts.

What does the operation surgery involve?

The contents of the cyst are released. This leads to the rapid regression of inflammation and to the restoration of the proper function of the glands of the eyelids. A small amount of local anesthetic is injected to the skin of the eyelid and the contents of the cyst are released from the internal surface of the eyelid (avoiding a visible incision on the skin and a visible scar).