Referral guideline – Chalazion

Introduction

A chalazion is a cyst within the eyelid that is caused by inflammation of a blocked meibomian gland. It differs from a stye in that it is usually subacute and painless. They may become acutely inflamed, but unlike a stye, they are usually found inside the lid, rather than on the lash margin.

GP management

Topical antibiotic eye drops or ointment (e.g. chloramphenicol) are sometimes used for the acute infection, but are of little value. Review in 1-2 days to ensure resolution and that cellulitis is not developing.

Healing of a sub-acute chalazion can be facilitated by holding a clean, warm washcloth against the closed eyelid for 2-5 minutes, 2-5 times per day. This promotes drainage and healing by softening the hardened oil that is occluding the duct.

Many chalazia will disappear without further treatment within a few months.

When to refer

Refer for non-urgent excision (category 3) when:

  • chalazion is very large
  • chalazia recur in the same position
  • chalazion is unresponsive to treatment for 6 months.

Essential referral info

  • Presenting complaint and reason for referral
  • Detailed history of symptoms and treatment to date
  • Patient details (name, age and gender)
  • Medicare number
  • Parent/Carer’s name and contact details
  • Referring clinician details (name, contact details, provider number, date and length of referral)

From 1 May 2019 referral criteria will apply at CHQ. This condition has minimum demographic and essential clinical referral information that is required to be included prior to submission of the referral. Visit the CPC website for the required condition. If you are unable to provide the required “essential information” please state the reason when you submit the referral.

Helpful referral info

  • Ocular history, including other eye problems, injuries, diseases, surgery, treatments including glasses and/or amblyopia therapy
  • Other past medical and surgical history
  • Antenatal and perinatal history that may be relevant – prematurity, birth weight, birth trauma, alcohol/drug use in pregnancy
  • Family history – of eye conditions or genetic conditions
  • Current medications and allergies
  • Examination findings – including any dysmorphic features, full ocular examination
  • Is the patient of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent?

Parent service

Ophthalmology

Contact details

Hospital Switchboard
(Ask for Ophthalmology On-call Registrar)
t: 07 3068 1111

Resources

How to apply eye ointment
How to apply eye drops
List of CHQ aligned optometrists
Emergency Eye Manual
Paediatric Optometry Alignment Program