Hailstone - causes and treatment

Hagelkorn-Chalazion - therapies and symptoms

A hailstone, also called chalazion, is usually harmless and often goes away on its own. You will find out in the following lines what causes this eye disease, which home remedies and natural remedies help and which possible complications can occur.

How the hailstone is made

The hailstone develops when the gland ducts of the meibomian glands or the zeis glands are blocked, which then leads to chronic inflammation over time. Both are sebaceous glands. The meibomian glands are located on the eyelids. They grease the edge of the lid and ensure that the eye does not become dry. The Zeis glands open into the hair follicles of the eyelashes and also release sebum, which is important for the smoothness of the eyelashes and the skin.

If the gland ducts are blocked, this creates a secretion jam, which is shown by a firm, coarse knot - the hailstone. This usually grows slowly and there is an inflammation.


As already mentioned, this unpleasant knot is formed due to glandular blockages. But this is only the direct cause. Skin diseases such as acne or diabetes mellitus can promote the development of the eye disease. Inflammation of the eyelid (blepharitis) is also one of the risk factors and, in rare cases, the secretion build-up is also triggered by an eyelid tumor.


In contrast to barley kernels (hordeolum), the hailstones usually don't hurt. However, those affected often have an uncomfortable feeling of tension or a foreign body due to the pressure of the knot. If the whole thing swells and the grain is so big that it presses on the eyeball, it can get quite uncomfortable. Eyesight may even be restricted. Conjunctivitis can also develop from this, but this is rarely the case.

Visit to the Doctor?

If the hailstone heals on its own, but this may take several weeks, a visit to the doctor is not absolutely necessary. However, if this nodule causes problems, an ophthalmologist should of course be consulted. This will first clarify whether it is a hailstone or a barley grain, because the respective treatment methods differ from one another. With a chalazion, the ophthalmologist usually prescribes anti-inflammatory eye drops or ointments.

If the measures mentioned do not help and the hailstone does not heal at all, it can also be removed surgically. A small incision is made under local anesthesia, the inflamed tissue is removed and this is then examined microscopically. This is important to rule out a very rare disease, a tumor of the eyelid. An antibiotic may be administered.

Chalazion rarely occurs in children. However, if this is the case, a doctor should be consulted.

Home remedies

Hailstones usually respond well to home remedies. Warmth and gentle eyelid massages come first here.


The dry warmth of the red light lamp is recommended. It is important to ensure that the distance to the device is maintained and that the eyes are closed. It is best to irradiate two to three times a day for about ten minutes.

Another option is to apply warm, moist compresses. It is essential to ensure cleanliness. Sterile disposable compresses are best suited for this. These are soaked in hot, boiled water and placed on the affected area for five minutes with eyes closed twice a day. The heat liquefies the sebum and allows it to drain away more easily.

Eyelid massages

Eyelid massages can help heal a hailstone. These work as follows: daily gently spread the upper eyelid from top to bottom and the lower eyelid from bottom to top towards the eyelid, from the outer to the inner corner of the eyelid.

Crusts and secretions are removed using a cotton pad soaked in boiled water. The procedure corresponds to that of the eyelid massage.

Natural remedies

Among the natural remedies, homeopathy and the Schüßler salts are recommended for a hailstone.

Homeopathic remedies

  • The homeopathic remedy Apis helps with swelling and any stinging pain.
  • Belladonna is given for redness and inflammation.
  • Staphisagria is the treatment of choice for hailstones or barley.
  • Graphites is used for skin diseases and helps to liquefy thick secretions.
  • Silicea is always used when pus has accumulated somewhere and at the same time supports wound healing.

Other homeopathic remedies for the treatment of hailstones are Pulsatilla, Hepar sulfurius and Pyrogenium. If nothing helps at all, Myrisitica sebifera is used because this agent promotes the outbreak of pus and supports the healing process. This is called “homeopathic knife” in the technical language.

Schuessler salts

If the whole thing is ignited, Schüßler Salt No. 3, Ferrum phosphoricum, is the right remedy. No. 1, calcium fluoratum, liquefies the secretion and No. 11, silicea, helps with pus accumulation and is important for wound healing. If the area is swollen, No. 8 sodium chloratum is recommended.

Recurring hailstones

If a chalazion occurs frequently, one should definitely question the causes. The cause of this could be diabetes mellitus or an immune deficiency. A very rare cause is also the eyelid tumor.


A hailstone is usually harmless. If this disturbs you too much or even hinders your vision, you need to go to the ophthalmologist. Never try to push the nodule or prick it open. (sw)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Merck & Co., Inc .: Chalazion and Hordeolum (barley grain) (accessed: July 17, 2019), msdmanuals.com
  • Amboss GmbH: Inflammation of the eyelids (accessed: July 17, 2019), amboss.com
  • Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer: Chalazion (access: July 17, 2019), enzyklopaedie-dermatologie.de
  • Professional Association of Ophthalmologists in Germany (BVA); Guideline Hordeolum / Chalazion, as of August 2011, Augeninfo.de
  • Lang, Gerhard K .: Ophthalmology, Thieme, 5th edition, 2014
  • Carlisle, R.T. / Digiovanni, J .: Differential Diagnosis of the Swollen Red Eyelid. American Family Physician, 2015, aafp.org
  • American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus: Chalazion (access: July 17, 2019), aapos.org
  • American Optometric Association: Chalazion (access: July 17, 2019), aoa.org
  • Mayo Clinic: Blepharitis (accessed: July 17, 2019), mayoclinic.org

ICD codes for this disease: H00ICD codes are internationally valid encryption for medical diagnoses. You can find yourself e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.

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