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Dr. Chan
Dr. Chan, Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
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Experience:  Board Certified in ophthalmology
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My 5 year old son has a chalazion that has been there for one

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My 5 year old son has a chalazion that has been there for one year. We have tried using warm compresses at different times throughout the year and he has not repsonded well to them. I am not sure if they were hot enough to do any good. His hair is light brown and skin is fair. Can he use Sulfur or if Flaxseed oil of any benefit? Are antibiotic creams useful if he chalazion is not infected? Thanks so much for your help. Our doctor wants to perform surgery on him next week and I am very reluctant to do this. Thanks again for your help.



First of all, chalazia are not dangerous (unless they get infected). Flaxseed oil and others have not been shown to be consistently beneficial. Sometimes and combination antibiotic and steroid ointment helps some. But after this long a period of time, most likely nothing short of surgery will eliminate this problem. The surgery does not take very long (10minutes). With the modern techniques of anesthesia, it is pretty safe. I have performed this on many children with no problems.


I hope this helps and thank you.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thanks so much for your quick response. The doctor prescribed Bacitracin/Polymyxin B Sulfate Opthomolic Ointment. Is this the Antibiotic you recommend? What type of steriod ointment is helpful? Since he has had the chalazion for one year, do you think the antibiotic and steriod ointment could help at all? If so how long would my son need to use it for to see if it worked? My son's chalazion is 8mm and not infected or affecting his vision in any way according to the doctor. It is not very visable. The doctors reason for wanting to perform the surgery now is that he believes the chalazion could get firmer and possibly bigger if left untreated which could make it more difficult to remove in the future (and he says most parent want chalazions removed for cosmetic reasons). He says instead of scooping it out he may need to cut it out if the chalazion gets older. Do you believe this is the case? Or do you think one could wait? Have you ever seen a chalazion that has lasted a year just go away on its own? Could hot compresses be of any use to a chalazion a year old? I would hate to have my son put out under general anesthesia for a cosmetic reason or if the chalazion had a chance of going away on its own. Thanks so much for your help. I really appreciate it!!!


Thank you!!!



The ointment you have is just an antibiotic. The combination ointment I was referring to is Tobradex ointment. After 2 weeks, you should see some improvement if there is to be any.


Certainly, the chalazion could get bigger if left alone. I don't think that surgery would be any different if it were bigger. However, I have not seen one that has lasted 1 year that would all of a sudden go away.


I must tell you that 8mm is pretty big already. I would recommend surgical excision as well (after 1 year).


Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thank you again for such a fabulously quick response. The absolutely last question I have is whether you would guess it is worth my son trying the Tobradex ointment or just going ahead with the surgery scheduled for this Wednesday. A doctor that I got a second opinion from is the one that gave us the antibiotic only cream (that we did not start). We could postpone surgery and ask for the combination ointment or we could just go ahead with surgery if you think the Torbadex would not be likely to work on a 1 year old chalazion. After this question I will accept your answer and put in another deposit amount for any other questions that I might have since I appreciate you so much answering all of my follow up questions. Thanks again for your help! I am a little desperate trying to figure all of this out and nervous about my son having general anesthesia.


Thank you!!!



It never hurts to try the ointment. But the truth is that I have never seen anything work on a chalazion that has been this stubborn. Usually something would have worked by now. I think you should have the surgery.

Edited by Dr. Chan on 10/11/2009 at 2:35 PM EST
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