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Meibomian cyst: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About meibomian cyst

Meibomian cyst also known as chalazion is a swelling of the upper or lower eyelid, which is caused by blockage of the meibomian gland (oil secretary). Though it is not a serious condition, it may lead to infections in some cases requiring surgical intervention for effective treatment.

Meibomian cyst: Incidence, age & sex

A cyst formation is generally found in adults. People suffering from skin diseases such as rosacea or dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids), meibomian gland dysfunction and skin cancer (in rare cases) are more likely to develop meibomian cyst.

Signs and symptoms of meibomian cyst: Diagnosis

The clinical features of meibomian cyst include heaviness and hard swelling of the affected eyelid which may be painful to touch. This may be accompanied with increased sensitivity to light (photophobia) and shedding of tears.

Meibomian cyst is generally diagnosed by visual examination. Proper eye examination is required by an ophthalmologist that includes testing of the pupillary response to light, acuity of vision, and pressure inside the eyes. The ophthalmologist may carry out some special tests to rule out other conditions such as corneal ulcers. A culture and sensitivity test may be performed on eye discharge, if ophthalmologist suspects bacterial infection of eyelid. In rare cases, biopsy of the affected area is also advised to rule out skin cancer.

Cause and prevention of meibomian cyst

Meibomian glands are small oil-secreting glands situated in the eyelids, release liquid that lubricate the edges of eyelid. When the opening of these glands are blocked either due to narrowing of the opening or due to the hardening of the sebaceous liquid near the opening, it causes inflammation of the gland and eyelid with formation of a swelling called as chalazion or meibomian cyst.

People who are prone to develop meibomian cyst should maintain proper hygiene of their eyes. They should clean their eyes preferably twice (morning and evening) a day with a saline solution or warm water. People who are suffering from skin diseases should take proper treatment of underlying disorder.

Meibomian cyst: Complications

Meibomian cyst generally resolves without any treatment; however, in a few cases, the cyst becomes infected and result into swelling, pain and redness of the affected eyelid and its surrounded area. The large and centrally located cyst can impaired the normal vision. In rare cases, the cyst may cause blurring of vision.

Meibomian cyst: Treatment

Majority of small meibomian cysts disappear without any treatment within one or two months with gentle cleansing with water and applying warm, moist compresses several times a day on the affected eyelid. In cases where the cyst is infected, local application of an antibiotic ointment, after proper washing, to the eyelid is prescribed. In some cases, corticosteroid eye drops are advised to relieve swelling. Eye makeup should be avoided until the cyst is healed. To treat large, persistent or uncomfortable cysts, a minor surgical procedure is performed under local anesthesia, where the cyst is opened and contents are removed. Proper treatment of the underlying disease is must to prevent recurrence of the meibomian cyst.