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What is chalazion?

Chalazion is a blockage that forms when the meibomian gland in the eyelids becomes inflamed. The blockage can cause a build-up of oily fluid, which may cause the gland to swell into a cyst and lead to redness around the eyelid.

Chalazion can affect the upper or lower lid in one or both of your child's eyes. It often happens more than once.

Treatment for chalazion

Your doctor will explain what type of treatment is best for your child. Treatment can include:

  • ​eyelid scrubs
  • warm compresses
  • antibiotics
  • surgery.

Eyelid scrubs

Eyelid scrubs remove the crusts at the opening of the meibomian gland to help it drain. The doctor may tell you to use either baby shampoo on a washcloth or a store-bought eyelid care solution.

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A chalazion is a blockage that forms in the meibomian gland in the eyelids. It can affect the upper or lower eyelid in one or both eyes.

Warm compresses

Warm compresses can be applied to the eyelids. To make a warm compress, follow these steps.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Fill a clean container with warm water. If you are using well water, boil the water first and let it cool down to become warm.
  3. Soak a clean face cloth in the warm water. If the cloth gets cool, add more warm water - never put it in the microwave.
  4. Squeeze any extra water from the cloth.
  5. Place the cloth on the closed eyelid(s) of the affected eye for no more than two minutes at a time. Repeat steps 4 to 6 a three or four times.

Ask your child's doctor how often you need to do the warm compresses.


If there is infection in the area of the chalazion, your child's doctor may also prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment. The antibiotic is to control the infection, which will help to reduce the swelling. This will allow the meibomian gland to open and allow the oily fluid that had collected there to drain.

Sometimes, your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory eye drops (a steroid) to bring the swelling down.

Make sure you follow any instructions for putting in eye drops or applying ointment​.


Your child may need surgery (an operation) if medical treatment has not worked after many weeks or months. Your child might also need surgery if their chalazion is severe.

During surgery, an opening is made into the glands to allow them to drain. Your child will either have a:

  • local anaesthetic so they do not feel pain in the affected area
  • a special "sleep medicine" called a general anaesthetic so they sleep through the operation.

What to expect after surgery

Eye patch

After surgery, your child's eye will be patched. In most cases, the patch is removed the next day. Your child will not have stitches.

Redness and swelling

The eyelid will be slightly swollen and bruised at first. It may take several days before the lids look better.

Pain or discomfort

Your child may have some discomfort or pain in the operated eye. Ask your child's doctor if you can give pain medicine to relieve the pain or discomfort.

Pinkish discharge

Your child may have some pinkish discharge from their eye(s) for a day or so. Call your child's doctor if the discharge turns yellow or green. This is a sign of infection and should be treated right away.


The doctor will prescribe antibiotic ointment for the eye. Please make sure you understand the instructions.

Everyday activities

Please ask your doctor when it is safe for your child to do the following:

Play:    __________________________________________________________

Bathe and shower:  ________________________________________________

Return to school or daycare:   ________________________________________

Go swimming:    ___________________________________________________

Follow-up appointment

Your child may need to come back for a follow-up appointment after their treatment.

Please call your child's doctor to check if or when your child needs to return for this visit. You can write the doctor's name and phone number here:

Child's doctor:   _____________________________________

Phone number: _____________________________________

Key points

  • A chalazion is a blockage that occurs when the meibomian gland becomes swollen.
  • A chalazion may affect the upper and lower eyelids in one or both eyes.
  • Treatment for a chalazion includes eyelid scrubs, warm compresses, antibiotics or surgery. Your doctor will explain what type of treatment is best for your child.
  • Call your child's doctor after your child is treated to see if your child needs a follow-up appointment.

Yasmin Shariff, RN 

Asim Ali, MD, FRCSC,

Nasrin Najm-Tehrani, MD, FRCSC, 

Kamiar Mireskandari, MD, FRCSC​


At SickKids:

If the eye doctor who operated on your child's eye(s) is not available, call 416-813-7500 and ask for the eye doctor on call.