Hordeolum and Chalazion

Hordeolum and Chalazion is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Result from inflammatory processes involving the glands of the eyelid along the lash line:
    • Hordeolum—acute glandular obstruction resulting in inflammation and abscess formation
    • Chalazion—end result of inspissation of glandular contents and chronic granulomatous inflammation
  • Hordeolum:
    • Develops owing to outflow obstruction in 1 or more of the glands of the eyelid
    • Obstructed glands may become secondarily infected.
    • May progress to localized abscess formation or may be complicated by periorbital cellulitis
  • Chalazion:
    • Chronic granulomatous inflammation in the meibomian gland:
      • Originates from inspissated secretions
      • Blockage of the gland's duct at the eyelid margin may result in release of the contents of the gland into the surrounding eyelid soft tissue.
      • A lipogranulomatous reaction ensues
      • Occasionally, chalazia become secondarily infected.
      • May evolve from incompletely drained internal hordeolum


  • May become secondarily infected:
    • Staphylococcus most common
  • Predisposing conditions:
    • Meibomian gland dysfunction
    • Blepharitis
    • Rosacea
    • Previous hordeolum

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