Recurrent Chalazion: the Connection with Dry Eyes

Recurrent chalazion, or a bump or blemish appearing on the margins of the upper and lower eyelids, affect millions of people each year. While this unsightly condition is often painless, it can result in irritation and discomfort for sufferers. Chalazia, a plural of the world chalazion, is similar to a facial pimple in that it is often the result of a clog or blockage in the oil-producing glands of the eyelid. Chronic dry eyes, is often a direct cause of chalazia, are a common symptom that may lead to the formation of clogged meibomian oil glands resulting in chalazion.  

Chalazia: Causes and Symptoms

There are many potential causes of recurrent chalazia on the eyelids. Typically, blemishes result from a blockage of the Meibomian oil glands (MGD), often referred to as the tarsal glands. These glands are responsible for producing the oily lubricating substance (“meibum”) that protects the eye surface from moisture loss and irritation. There are dozens of such glands in the upper and lower eyelids. When blocked, the glands become irritated and inflamed, resulting in the formation of one or more reddish bumps. These bumps may form on the inside of the eyelids or along their margins.

Other causes for recurrent chalazion include:

  • Environmental exposure to winds and sun leading to eyelid inflammation.
  • Bacterial or viral infections.
  • Immune disorders.
  • Chronic dry eye syndrome.

For people with facial rosacea, a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects the face and causes redness, swelling, and pimples in severe cases, recurrent chalazion are quite common. The two conditions are not directly related, but facial rosacea sufferers have a higher chance of also developing chalazia.

The symptoms of a recurrent chalazion may vary. Typically, the blemishes do not cause any significant pain or discomfort, but severe cases may result in tenderness and swelling in and around the eyelids. Some people report a gritty feeling, and large blemishes can obstruct vision temporarily. The bumps may also contribute to an increase in light sensitivity among some patients.

Treating Recurrent Chalazion

Time-honored treatment solutions for recurrent chalazia include applying warm compresses to the affected area. The compresses help to stimulate the production of meibum, which can flush out any blockages present in the glands. Once the flow is restored, the blemish can subside without any other intervention.

Treating the underlying causes of chalazia are critical. For those experiencing chronic dry eyes, a product like TheraLife Eye Enhanced can be beneficial. This product helps to relieve dry eyes by replacing natural tears, and the formula also supports the production of tears. Moist eyes are less likely to experience the gland blockages that can result in the formation of blemishes. This product also helps to relieve the gritty feeling associated with chalazia. A gentle eye cleanser may also help to remove excess meibum and debris that are clogging the gland openings.

Severe cases may require more intensive medical intervention. Chronic chalazia may require oral or topical steroids. Steroids may also be injected into the inflamed tissues surrounding blocked glands in the most extreme cases. For chalazia that are the result of an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.

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