What is Meibomian Cyst?
Meibomian cyst is an eyelid lump that is somehow mistaken for a stye. Meibomian cyst is also referred as chalazion. This is an eyelid condition which is primarily caused by a mere inflammation of the eyelid’s oil glands, meibomian glands. One should take note that a cyst is a small structure, closed sac that is frequently considered a normal occurrence. A meibomian cyst is a common condition as much as other forms of cysts found in different parts of the body. This cyst is encapsulated and is said to contain liquid to semi liquid substances or even gaseous substance. Meibomian cyst may or may not be detectable as it varies in size.
This condition is also referred as tarsal cyst as the eyelid glands are also known as tarsal glands. Anatomically speaking, our eyelids contain about 30 to 40 glands with a role of producing liquid, lubricating secretions. The secretions are simply called sebum which is a mixture of oil and mucus.
The eyelid condition is common among adults especially to those who have skin diseases like rosacea, dermatitis blepharitis and skin cancer. One is at most risk when there is an underlying meibomian gland dysfunction. This can be easily identified with a proper eye examination by an ophthalmologist. At some point, it becomes a necessity for the doctor to test for cancer by doing a biopsy.
Characteristics of Meibomian Cyst
A meibomian cyst is a small, fluid-filled cyst of the eyelid. Its usual size is about 2 to 8 mm. As reported, meibomian cyst is commonly found in the upper eyelid but still can affect both eyes. Somehow, this condition is compared with stye. But the two are much different from each other.
When chalazion develops, the affected sees it as a physical nuisance. Pain is among the characteristics of the eye condition. Fortunately, the pain and discomfort felt by the affected is mild or simply just a sense of irritation as the cyst emerges. However, when the condition becomes infected, more discomfort follows and the more painful it becomes. Many ask if the condition affects the sense of sight, the answer is yes and no. The cyst only becomes a nuisance to our vision when it has become large enough to press on the eyeball. Basically, it does not affect our vision and visual acuity unless the structure is big enough to cause the problem.
A meibomian cyst develops from swelling of the eyelid gland which results to eyelid tenderness. Some patients report to becoming sensitive to light and have increased eye tearing. Complications are possible and are rare occurrences such as development of infection and blurred vision. Blurred vision is only possible when the cyst is large enough to irritate the eyes.
Meibomian Cyst Pictures
Picture 1: See the Meibomian Cyst (Chalazion) in the upper eyelid
Image source : patient.co.uk
Picture 2: Meibomian Cyst
Image source : irishhealth.com
Picture 3: Upper Eyelid affected by Chalazion (Meibomian Cyst)
Image source : en.wikipedia.org
Picture 4: A large chalazion ca. upon excision
Image source : en.wikipedia.org
Meibomian Cyst Causes
Meibomian cyst develops when there is a problem with the eyelid glands. As meibomian glands secrete the lubricating sebum, problem arises as the glands are blocked because of some underlying condition, such as narrowed opening of the glands or from accumulation of hardened secretions. As these possibilities occur, the inflammation process is triggered resulting to swelling of the glands affected. The swelling may worsen as the possible build up of oil develops.
Meibomian Cyst Treatment (Removal & surgery)
In the treatment plan for meibomian cyst, providing comfort is chiefly the main objective. One should be reminded to be cautious with their health. When you suspect formation of a meibomian cyst or any form of lump formation in the eye or eyelid, seeking for a doctor’s advice is a priority. A good reminder to all of us is to make sure that we are properly diagnosed and treated. Self-medication is a big no in every way.
It is also essential that a person is aware of the possible signs that require medical attention from meibomian cyst. When you have been experiencing persistent discomfort from the cyst, having frequent headaches, fever, visual disturbances, eye drainage and complete eye swelling; prompt medical care should be rendered.
The following are the proper interventions provided when meibomian cyst is diagnosed:
- Initial treatment entails not touching the affected eye as the act can only worsen the condition. Meibomian cysts, as statistically noted, get better without any form of treatment. However, when additional problems arise from the cyst, consulting for proper medical treatment is essential.
- In order to provide comfort from the pain and tenderness arising from the eyelid cyst, application of warm compresses is allowed. One should use a clean cloth soaked in hot water. Remember that application is done in a limited time in order to avoid burning, most preferably about 5 t 10 minutes only. This action should be done 3 to 4 times a day.
- Cleaning the affected eyelid can promote fast healing and helps avoids development of infection. The use of warm water and a weak solution liquid soap is highly recommended and is more preferable when done twice a day. Good lid hygiene also assists a person to be far from developing such eyelid problem.
- Topical antibiotic helps very well with infection. The antibiotic may be in eye drop form or ointment and the common prescribed medications are chloramphenicol and fusidic acid.
- Light massage on the affected eyelid helps in draining the contents of the cyst. This is done gently, preferably with the use of a cotton bud.
- Surgical intervention of meibomian cyst includes excision of the lump/cyst. This is only indicated when the cyst becomes a grave nuisance and a great source of discomfort. The surgical procedure is done as an outpatient basis. The use of a local anesthesia is sufficient as it already helps block out the pain from the eyelid. During the procedure, the cyst contents are removed. Stitches are no longer needed as the cut made is left open to heal on its own. The procedure may also be way for the doctor to collect a specimen for biopsy. In order to avoid infection, the doctor shall apply an antibiotic agent and the affected eye will be covered securely.