Monday, June 17, 2013

Looking Chalazia Right in the Eyes

Oh no, my friends. It's reach out for a lil' support time. If you've got ANY tips on this one, puh-lease send them my way. Forward to a a sister out, people.

I'm so sad to report that it's happening again.
The chalazia are back, and this time...BOTH of our sweet kiddos are under siege.

If you missed my initial, more optimistic post on our first battle with these clogged oil glands in the eyelids, catch up here. Man, how I'm wishing that previous post was the end of chalazia worries for us, but alas...they're back. And brutal.

Since we'd been through this before, we started warm compresses at the first sign of our 2-yr-old first STINKIN' chalazion a'brewing.

And then, salt in the wound- our eldest developed a monster on her lower right lid and another, less obvious chalazion began clogging up her upper lid.

Our older child hadn't been affected by blockages in years and this was our youngest's first bout, so we found it incredibly suspicious that both kids developed chalazia around the same time. Coincidence? Docs say they're not contagious, so what gives? What do you think? Seems so bizarre. Allergies, maybe?

Major, major drag, people.

Following our pediatric ophthalmologist's advice, we started with rice compresses that we made with socks. We microwave them for about 20 seconds and hold to the eye for 15 minute intervals 3-4x a day. They hold heat far better than washcloths, but now- wondering if the moisture from washcloth compresses might be helpful, we're alternating between the two.
chalazia compresses
We're switching between rice and warm washcloth compresses.
Hoping to keep those glands clear of any additional irritation, I've been doing my best to keep our daughters' hair pulled back as much as possible, and we've been opting to give the girls showers instead of baths to encourage drainage from the steam.

After 4 weeks of compress treatments and minimal improvement, both girls were prescribed Tobramycin and Dexamethason drops and ointment 4x a day. After over a week of use, we're seeing little result.

Surgical removal is not recommended (phew!) at this point, since ugly as these clogs are, they aren't large enough to cause damage to the eye.

But it's killing me to see my sweeties' eyes all backed up like this. You know? :::sigh.

So I'm reachin' out, friends. If anyone has any tips for helping to clear eye ducts, please let us know. If you know someone who has been up against chalazia, ask em' how they got over the hump (pun intended) and report back. We'd be ever so grateful.

As hard as it is to see our girls' precious little faces marred by chalazia, it definitely helps me to remember to see past outer appearances- to remember that a little blemish ain't so bad, and most importantly to be thankful for the health those cuties DO have and focus on the positive.

I've learned that parenting isn't always going to be picture perfect, but we've got a whole lotta resources and a whole lotta love to get us over the hurdles.

Thanks for all your help, friends! Keep your ears open for news that might help us strengthen the fight against chalazia and send us your tips.

Have a happy week, everyone, with clear eyes to the skies!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

P.S. "Like" From My Hearth to Yours on Facebook here for news, updates and reader tips


Kat said...

So sorry your family is dealing with this again, Cally. Chalazions suck big time, and I didn't even know what they were before I got one...then two. Sigh.

I am currently battling two chalazia on my right upper eyelid. I have seen two different ophthalmologists this summer, and I keep waffling between getting chalazion surgery or a steroid shot (the second option sounding 100x more appealing, since it's quicker with less pain and nearly as effective with 1-2 injections). I actually had surgery scheduled for August 9th with the first doctor, but I backed out, because the thought of someone operating on my eye while I'm awake was enough to make me drop seven pounds in anticipation (no joke!). I'm not so sure I'd be any less anxious anticipating a steroid shot to the eyelid, though.

I noticed the first lentil-sized lump in late April, and over time, it started to drain to the side and form a second smaller lump next to it (towards the outer corner of the same eye). Prescription steroid ointment 4x daily did nothing. The first doctor offered to give me oral sedation before surgery to calm my nerves, but she said that she doesn't do steroid shots because of the associated risks of a "mini-stroke behind the eye" and hypopigmentation (loss of skin color at the injection site; especially a risk for darker skin, and my olive complexion is somewhere in-between).

After disclosing these risks, she still referred me to the second doctor (who offers a choice of surgery or steroid shots) for a consultation. The first doctor had recommended medical intervention after the ointment did not work, but the second doctor said that watching and waiting was also an option for me, because it wasn't a tumor or anything serious (he said he could tell "just by looking at it"). Of course, I wonder how he can tell without a biopsy, but I suppose I should trust him! For now, I am too fearful of risks and doing absolutely nothing. No surgery. No shot.

Here's hoping that your girls do not need surgery, but there is comfort in knowing that children have less anticipatory anxiety than adults. They just go with the flow! I do wonder, though, if we just waited it out long enough, would they eventually reabsorb? Google "Kimberly's Guide to Chalazion Cysts" online. She swears they all eventually go away in time if left to their own vices (if vanity allows), and that steroid shots are "better than surgery." However, I imagine this option probably would not work for very young kids, since they cannot hold still as easily. Maybe it's possible under mild sedation? Definitely questions to ask the doctor.

Sending healing vibes to your darling girls!

Cally said...

Man, Kat. Ain't it the PITS?!?

My girls DID end up getting the surgery. I talked to several doctors, and they all cautioned that the injections can cause lots of problems and recommended against them.

Although the surgeries went well, I'm afraid my youngest daughter might be getting ANOTHER small chalazion again already. UGH!

So I'm back at constant washing, warm Epsom compresses...the whole nine yards.

If you ever find a strategy that you find effective, PLEASE get back to us. I've been corresponding with many others who have to deal with these dastardly things, and there is strength in numbers.

Sending you tons of love and support. Fingers crossed for all of us.

Kat said...

Hi, Cally. I was just thinking of you and your girls and thought I'd send you another note.

So, I went to the eye doctor again on September 23rd with the intent of scheduling surgery to evict this thing off my face, and guess what! She actually advised against it because it shrank, and it is now mostly granulation tissue. I still have a bump, but it seems to be flattening out and taking its sweet time. I guess that lady online (Kimberly) was right, that chalazia take forever (about 1 year) to go away, and I really cannot blame anyone for wanting to remove them sooner. The doctor also said that at this point, steroid shots will not work for my bump, because they only decrease inflammation, and mine had resolved.

April 2013 was when this beast first made its unwelcome appearance, so I'm hoping that by the time I serve my Easter ham next year, it shall go the way of the ham and disappear! =) In the meantime, I have been washing both eyes multiple times a day with Clearasil Oil-Free Daily Face Wash (which has one of the best smells ever) and baby shampoo, alternating between the two, followed by gentle but firm massage and a daily dab of Neo-Poly-Dex eye ointment. She told me to apply that once a day before bed until the bump is gone, down from 4x daily over the summer.

Here's hoping your little ladies fully heal and never have to deal with this again! Hugs.

Cally said...

Oh Katrina! I'm so happy for you! You're a champ, sista!

My girls had their chalazia removed 4 months ago, and we've been doing 2 warm compresses every day and have been washing their eyelids 2x a day with Occusoft Lid Scrub. I also give them fish oil supplements.

I noticed that my youngest seemed to be getting another one a few months ago, but (KNOCK ON WOOD) I think the compresses and preventative routine has managed to dissipate the blockage.

Keep at it, girlfriend, and thank you SO much for your feedback.

I hope we can help others get through the difficulties of battling these suckers.

Sending you major HIGH-FIVES for an amazing holiday and 2014!
Much love to you and yours!

Jessica Morrison said...

Help me! hi i'm jessica and my little baby has a chalazia from 4 months ago, i'm so sad and i really need your help! thank you.

Cally said...

Oh Jessica. I'm so sorry. Our 3-yr-old has had a nasty, hard chalazion for the past couple months, and it's so frustrating.

We've tried everything- warm, epsom salt compresses, drops, lid washes/massages, apple cider vinegar, omega supplements. You name it.

Unfortunately, it seems some people are just prone to these blockages.

It makes us crazy, because we'd been doing aggressive preventative treatments ever since our daughter had some surgically excised last year, and they still kept coming.

For now, we're just praying she grows out of them.

Her older sister got chalazia two separate times, and so far, she seems okay, so we're so hoping that maybe- as our youngest ages, these clogs will end.

If you need anything, questions answered, support or just a place to VENT your frustration, we're here for you.

We've created quite a network of support out here with people/parents who are also up against chalazia.

And if you find ANYTHING that helps, please let us know! We'd all be interested to hear what you've learned along the way.

Sending you big sunshine and support, friend!
Hugs to you and your sweet wee one!

Jessica Morrison said...

Thank you so much, I would like to know about omega and rice compresses .
Of course I'll tell you if I findsomething that can help us, i'm trying whit homeopaty.
i'll tell you!

Cally said...

Because we do compresses DAILY, for both of our kids who seem prone to chalazia, we put rice inside a small sock and heat them in the microwave. We have them hold these over each eye 2x a day so heat the oil inside the lids. After the heat wears off, we have the girls BLINK very hard a few times- in hopes that this will help squeeze out the glands in the lids.

We also wash their eyes with OcuSoft Lid Scrub morning and night.

The omega supplements, we use Nordic gummies and Cor-Omega squeezies, are supposed to help thin out the oil the eyelids produce.

I've been putting the vinegar on (with a Q-tip) the large, hardened chalazion while my 3-yr old sleeps at night, but I don't think it's helping much.

We use epsom salt soaked washcloths, heated in the microwave, at onset as well to try to clear those ducts.

Please keep us posted and we'll do the same.
Best wishes to you…to ALL of us fighting these stinkers!

Brittni said...

My son also suffers from chalazions! He started getting them at 2.5 years old. The first one he had eventually went away after several months. The 2nd one, however, got really swollen and red and had to be surgically removed from the outside and he had 2 stitches :( He finally recovered from that a couple weeks ago and now he has ANOTHER one coming up!! He is 3.5 now and these warm compresses 4 times daily is so frustrating given he doesn't like to sit still. Do you find that the rice compresses work better?! I may start trying the vinegar as well when he's asleep. These things are So frustrating and my heart breaks in half every time we are out in public and a kid asks him what's wrong with his eye :'( Help!!

Cally said...

I'm so sorry Brittni. We relate SO MUCH to your story and your frustration. It's so hard to manage these stinkers.

Our youngest daughter (3-yrs-old) just had her second excision last month. We were so afraid to do ANOTHER surgery, only a year after the first excision, but we made the right choice. The surgeon said hers was still active and it was large and wouldn't have gone away on its own.

We do rice compresses 2-3x a day for BOTH of our daughters, every day. We also wash and massage the lids morning and night with OccuSoft Plus lid wipes and give both girls Omega 3 supplements daily.

If I see one coming on now, I use hot water with epsom salt compresses as well as the rice compresses. I use the washcloth to really massage the heck outta those lids to try to drain the blockages. I feel like the massaging really helps, especially with the heat. I do this during their bath time as well.

The bad news is that, some kiddos are just prone to this, and it's a really hard road for the loving mamas and papas who have to work on constant prevention.

The GOOD news is that most docs say they are likely to grow out of this (KNOCK ON WOOD- it seems our almost 6-yr-old has less trouble now than she did when she was younger) and no matter how unsightly chalazia are, at least they aren't harmful in any way.

We are SO with you on this though and are always here to exchange ideas or just vent and offer support when these blockages pop up.

We're sending you lots of encouragement and support while you work through this one. Massage massage massage that sucker. Fingers crossed, friend. You're not alone.

Best wishes to you and your crew!

Bethany Pellerin said...

I have been crying reading your first post this one and all the comments. I google imaged chalazia in childen and your sweet daughter popped up . I gasped because that's my Hannah. My sweet girl Hannah has been battling these for about 7 months now. Your post confirmed what I knew it was even after the last doctor never mentioned the word chalzia. We have been doing the "routine" for months now. I really didn't want to do surgery because I knew there was a chance for them to come back. But after reading your posts I am thinking it might be an option. Hannah is almost 5. We have done warm presses, rice bags, green tea bags, vit. B ...steroid drops. I know the the journey will be a long with or without the surgery but I have felt so alone with this. I get comments " What's wrong with her eyes" And the concerned look that it's contagious. and my least favorite "it could be worse" Your honesty was so comforting to me in that we are not alone. I am calling Seattle Children's tomorrow for evaluation just to get a better understanding at where Hannah's are at ( never returning to the previous doctor again) I am praying your little girls don't have any more issues. One question I think it's unique with treatment with young children because it's so hard for them to understand and sit still. I have figured out a way to have her stay still for the warm rice packs, tea bags. and the cleaning but she will now let me massage it at all. I have been sneaking some time in while she is sleeping but I am not sure I am doing it right. Any suggestions?

Cally said...

Oh Bethany. We are sending you knowing nods and so much love and support.

We totally relate to everything you describe- the stares, the questions, the comments from others. It's such a trying affliction to deal with.

Because BOTH our daughters have had bouts, it has been incredibly stressful trying to maintain the routine of compresses and eye washes for two children, but we're trying to stay optimistic.

We are not a family to jump the gun with any major moves for our children- yet both of our daughters have had two surgeries to excise chalazia.

Kaira (now almost 6-yrs-old) had her first affliction with chalazia, (almost 2 months of home treatments) before she had her first surgery when she was 2 yrs-old and had the other surgery (again after months of home treatment) when she was 4 yrs-old. She was chalazia-free for the 2 years in between the first and second surgery and seems to be doing great now (KNOCK ON WOOD!).

Layna (now 3 yrs-old) had her first surgery when she was 2 yrs-old and her second surgery a year later.

We did NOT want to do the surgery unless it was our last option, and after each procedure, the pedi. opth. told us we'd made the right choice and that the chalazia were very large, active and unlikely to have gone away on their own without the excision.

We've spoken with several doctors, and of course no one would recommend surgery unless the chalazia are really large and unlikely to go away after everything else has been tried to get them to go away on their own. But we, and it sounds like YOU, tried EVERYTHING at home.

Rice compresses, wet compresses, epsom salt compresses, omega supplements, apple cider vinegar, tea bags, massage…you name it, we tried it.

I, too, would sneak into our daughters' rooms while they were sleeping at night to massage their bumps with a q-tip that had been soaked in apple cider vinegar or epsom salt. No luck.

Sometimes, those chalazia seem to dig their roots in and hold on for the long haul.

Although I'd never recommend surgery unless it's a last ditch resort, the process is very quick (10 minutes tops!) and the results are so relieving. The eyes look beautiful again within 24 hrs after the procedure.

And how refreshing to see your darlins' beautiful eyes all cleared up after such bouts with these awful blockages!

As prevention now, we do rice compresses at least 2x a day for each child. We also wash and massage lids morning and night with OccuSoft Plus wipes. The girls get omega 3 supplements daily and we try to incorporate lots of healthy foods (rich in omegas) and flax seed regularly into their diet.

The BEST news is that, many docs say, many children grow out of this chalazia phase, and it does seem that our older daughter is having less of an issue these days.

Fingers crossed for us, and you, that these blockages clear and we'll have smooth sailing in the future.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about excision or dealing with home treatments.

We've BEEN there, friend.
Much love and support to you and Hannah!
All the best!

Cally said...

Also, to get massage time in, we allow our kids to watch TV or use the iPad during this time. We've found that this distracts them enough to work on massaging out blockages.

We massage WITH the compresses while we give them, so they hardly realize we're doing it! And we massage while we wash- just pressure to push out any clogs downward on all lids.

Brittni said...

Thank you for all your help on how to deal with them. I have also heard that if you start religiously with the warm compresses the second you START to see the chalazion forming, it tends to go away without opening up. I have started him on omega 3 and I'm going to look into ordering those wipes. Praying your girls outgrow these annoying things ASAP!

Jessica Morrison said...

Hi, my little Dannae has a chalazia almost 8 months ago and we are trying with warm compresses in all this time, did you recomend surgery? she has 1 year and 9 months old.

thank you Cally!

Cally said...

I'm sorry Jessica. Such a bummer, right?
Our 3-yr-old keeps getting clogs, but we've been really hardcore about at least 3 warm compresses WITH EYELID MASSAGE every day, using Occusoft Lid Scrub wipes with massage and Omega-3 supplements daily.

We really feel that the massage is the key to getting the blockages to drain. We'd just done compresses before, and without massaging those lids, the oil wouldn't drain. Since we've been massaging during and after the warm compresses, the oil does seem to release, so we think this is the key for us.

Try rubbing her lids after the warm compresses and see if that helps.

We'd never recommend surgery unless your pediatric opth suggests that the blockage might not go away on its own (as it was in our daughters' situations).

When they went in, the surgeon said the girls' chalazia were either hardened, so they wouldn't have drained on their own, or that they were active and still growing/clogging. We'd done home treatments for months before deciding on excision.

Try that massaging, and if that doesn't work, we'd suggest seeing your doc to determine if excision might be an option for your lil' darlin'.

Much love and luck to you all!

Jessica Morrison said...

Thanks Cally, the issue is that my baby is 8 months with that ugly lump and liquid is encapsulated, the oft. ped. suggested the surgery 4 months ago (we visited three oft. ped.) but I was hoping to drain with hot compresses and massage and the worst thing that has grown because my daughter is alegic to one of the components of ointment that the doc send her, so as you can imagine is a nightmare!.
My husband is already decided about the sugery but I'm still nervous and I really need some help from a mommy with experience.

Thank you very much again !!!
Greetings from Guadalajara Mexico.

Cally said...

We understand exactly how you're feeling Jessica. Really, it's the worst.

The surgery was a last ditch effort on our part (we've had to do have excision 2x with each of our daughters) and every time we do it, the anxiety leading up to it is ridiculously high.

We can tell you, however, that the surgery is SUPER QUICK- your daughter will be in and out in about 15 minutes. They only put kiddos under the anesthesia for about 5-10 minutes and the excision is very quick, simple and SO effective in getting that nasty lump outta there!

I won't lie to you though, the waking up from the anesthesia was very scary when our girls were young (when my eldest had an excision at 4, it was no sweat- but when they were younger- they'd wake up terrified, confused and thrashing). Prepare yourself to be there to calm your little girl when they let you hold her. And hold on tight! My youngest daughter was very upset as a reaction from waking from the anesthesia for about 10 minutes after the surgery and started throwing punches and kicks at nurses- very uncharacteristic behavior, but they don't know what's going on when they wake up.

But…once you get past that hump, you'll be AMAZED at the recovery! Her eye will look almost perfectly normal after 24 hours! There might be some mild bruising, but it will diminish so quickly, and our girls acted perfectly normally within hours after the excision!

You will feel incredible relief.

But don't let up on compresses! Unfortunately, they have now become part of our daily routine.

Once kids get these, they are likely to get more (as was the case with our girls) but it DOES seem that our (almost 6-yr-old) eldest has grown out of it! We STILL do compresses at least 2x every day for both kids in efforts to prevent ever having to deal with these awful blockages again.

Please feel free to ask us ANYTHING, as we really understand how difficult this decision is and how scary it is to consider excision for such tiny little darlings.

Know that we are sending you and your daughter much love and support while you battle these stinkers! You'll get past this! Hang in there, friend!


Bethany Pellerin said...

Well our sweet Hannah had her surgery a week ago. Both eyes! She did great. Her eyes are beautiful and she literally is like a different kid.
I just want to say thank you for your post and for your reply to me. It really helped us make the choice to go ahead with the surgery. Seeing the pictures of your sweet babes calmed our anxious hearts. And you really walked us through and it's so much different than hearing it from a doctor. I am also thankful to know that this is a clean slate but we might not be done with the battle. But the relief we feel today and the enjoyment we are having is priceless. Thank you again.

Bethany Pellerin said...

PS just in time for her big 5th Frozen party!!!

Cally said...

Hi Bethany!

I'm so relieved that the excision went well for your darlin' Hannah. Intense, right? But so amazing to see your sweetie without those gnarly stinkers marring perfection!

We SO know how you're feeling right now. If you can, just try to remember to wash her lids thoroughly (massage down the lids to release any trapped oil) morning and night and try to give her a warm compress every day while she's watching Frozen! ;) Making sure those ducts are warm and that they expel any oil will keep the STRESS away.

We really believe in the massage part of this routine. Have seen some starting with our youngest and have been able to rub the blockages out! :::knock on wood!

As always, we are here if you ever need to talk or vent. Hopefully, we're all moving forward towards chalazia-free days.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your sweet princess! It's definitely time to "Let it Go" this year.

All the best!

Erin said...

Hi Cally!

Thanks for your posts about this. I am curious if you could expand on/ describe what exactly the surgery involves. Do they use General Anesthesia? Our 3 year old son has had them chronically since he was 6 months old and the one that he has now has been there for 7 months. We are considering surgery, but I am terrified of him going under anesthesia. Any info would be greatly appreciated!


Cally said...

Hi Erin,

I'm so sorry to hear that you, too are plagued with this awful affliction. As gut-wrenching as it is, just remember that it's not life-threatening and that things WILL get better.

For adults, the surgery does not require the patient to go "under" anesthesia. They simply inject a numbing agent near the eye and make a quick, small incision to drain the blockage.

Unfortunately but obviously, children cannot sit still for this procedure, so they must go under a light, albeit scary, anesthesia so that they are completely still to have this same procedure done.

It's really very simple for the kiddos, but so stressful for the parents. They'll just take him in, maybe give him a mild sedative before they take him back.

Then they'll take him back, give him a mask to put him out, insert the IV and anesthesia and will lance and drain the blockages all within just a few minutes.

Your son probably will be gone and back within 20 minutes tops.

I didn't sleep the nights before these procedures, but every time we did it, I was so relieved. It was so quick and the chalazia were gone immediately afterwards.

Granted- one of my daughters did not wake up well from the anesthesia and was very out of sorts- not gonna lie- screaming and kicking- so DO be prepared for anything when he wakes up. That was, by far, the worst part. His eye will be patched so he will be very confused upon awaking.

But the healing is super quick and really painless. The worst part is getting the tape off the skin when it's time to remove the patch the next day!

After our girls' surgery, the ped. opth. surgeon told us that the chalazia were so hardened and/or active that they probably would not have gone away on their own. So it was good we went ahead with the surgery.

We know EXACTLY how you feel about the fear of anesthesia. We eat all organic food, use sunscreen religiously and do EVERYTHING we can to take the best care of our kiddos, so to risk anesthesia for something non-life-threatening seemed really overwhelming for us, but we did everything we could to get rid of the chalazia at home and had no success at all after months of efforts, so at that point, with the advice of our opthamologist- and it sounds like that's where YOU'RE at, we decided it was time.

If you have any other questions or concerns, we'd be happy to help you through this, as again, we know how you're feeling.

Sending you and your little man much love and support!
All the best!

Joanne said...

Hi Cally,

Just doing some research when I came across your blog post. I curently have a chalazim on my right eyelid. It's my first one ever and warm compresses seem to help, although it's been 1.5 months. I use an English ice bag from CVs, fill it with boiled water, and put a towellette underneath it before placing it before putting it on my eye. When I first got my chalazion, I could barely see out of my eye, now, it's about a month or so from being gone!

While dealing with the chalazion, a stye popped up on my left eyelid. I decided I was going to take action immediately, and found several testimonials for olive/lavender oil on the web, so I got both and layered them twice a day before my compress. The stye was GONE in three days! Wish I knew about this remedy beforey first stye turned into a chalazion! Now, I used it as a preventitive measure.

Just be careful to not get the lavender oil in your eye - just on your eyelid - it stings like mad!

Good luck!

Joanne! :)