Pediatric Chalazion Development Linked to Racial Background

Young Boy with Chalazion, Small bump in the eyelid caused by a blockage of a tiny oil gland, Meibomian glands. (Photo By BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian participants developed chalazion at higher rates than other groups, the report shows.

Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, and Asian individuals are likely to develop chalazion at a higher rate than other racial/ethnic groups, according to findings published in the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology.

Researchers conducted a retrospective study to investigate race as a risk factor for chalazion and chalazion surgery with the goal of providing better-informed decision making regarding eyelid hygiene, early topical medical therapy, and aggressiveness with oral antibiotic therapy for coexisting conditions such as blepharitis. 

The study involved the collection of demographic data for all pediatric visits to the ophthalmology department from 2012 to 2019, as well as a retrospective chart review for the subset with chalazion. The findings show that, of the 28,433 patients approximately 2% (n=584) had chalazia (1088 in total). Incidence of chalazion occurred at a rate of 1.8% in non-Hispanic Latinx participants and in 3.8% of Hispanic Latinx participants (P <.0001), in 1.7% of white participants, in 4.3% of American Indian/Alaska Native participants (P <.0001), and in 4.0% of Asian participants (P <.0001). 

Additionally, the researchers recorded more than 1 chalazion in 31% of participants without coexisting meibomian gland disease, blepharitis, or marginal keratitis, and in 56% of participants with one of these conditions (P <.0001). In 17% of participants without and in 33% with these conditions, the study observed repeated diagnoses of chalazion on separate encounters (P <.0001).

The researchers note that, though non-white and non-Hispanic/Latino participants developed chalazion at a higher rate than their white and Hispanic/Latino counterparts in this study, race and ethnicity did not show significant differences in the rates of multiple chalazion formation on multiple occasions.

The study’s most significant limitation, the researchers explain, is its generalizability to other populations.

“This study assumes that no particular race was more likely than any other to present to the ophthalmology and optometry clinics with the diagnosis of a chalazion, as opposed to being managed either at home or by a primary care physician,” the researchers note. “However, it is possible this was not the case.”

Other limitations include factors related to its retrospective nature.


Evans J, Vo KBH, Schmitt M. Chalazion: racial risk factors for formation, recurrence, and surgical intervention. Can J Ophthalmol. Published online May 29, 2021.. doi:10.1016/j.jcjo.2021.04.023.