Chalazion (Pleural Chalazia)
Just above the margin of our upper eyelid, and below the margin of our lower eyelid, there are cartilagenous plates (called Tarsal Plates) that keep our eyelids formed. Inside these plates, there are multiple (~20-30) “pillar-shaped” “meibomian” glands that secrete a viscous liquid that protect our ocular surface and help keep our eyes from drying up. These glands’ openings are just behind our eyelashes and can easily be seen under a microscope.
From time to time, for unknown reasons (very similar to a pimple), these glands get “plugged up” and this viscous material gets “backed up” into these tiny tubular structures. This is called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (a form of “blepharitis”).
Meibomian gland openinings on the eyelidmargin get pluggedA chalazion is basically a cyst that forms as a result of this backed up gland in the eyelid that gets engorged & inflamed. Besides being very unsightly, this swelling leads to pain, irritation, tearing, and by pushing on the eyeball, even astigmatism. Contrary to common belief, this condition is NOT an infection, and this is why they do not respond at all to topical antibiotics or ointments. Over-the-counter ointments and “herbal” remedies are also ineffective for the same reason: they do not do anything to help open the close gland or empty the backed-up content, rather, they just “lubricate” the eye. Needless to say, there is not a single textbook, article, or publication that ever indicates using a lubricating ointment to “treat” a chalazion. The only thing they do is to improve the irritation.
The National Library of Medicine (the National Institues of Health)
The American Academy of Ophthalmology
The Merck Manual
All About Vision