Styes and Chalazia - Topic Overview
What are styes and chalazia?
Styes and chalazia
are lumps in or along the edge of an eyelid. They may be painful or annoying,
but they are rarely serious. Most will go away on their own without
stye is an infection that causes a tender red lump on
the eyelid. Most styes occur along the edge of the eyelid. When a stye occurs
inside the eyelid, it is called an internal hordeolum (say
chalazion (say "kuh-LAY-zee-on") is a lump in the
eyelid. Chalazia (plural) may look like styes, but they are usually larger and
may not hurt.
Styes and chalazia may be related to
blepharitis, a common problem that causes inflammation
of the eyelids.
What causes a stye or chalazion?
Styes are caused
by a bacterial infection. Usually the bacteria grow in the root (follicle) of
an eyelash. An
internal hordeolum is caused by infection in one of
the tiny oil glands inside the eyelid.
A chalazion forms when
an oil gland in the eyelid becomes blocked. If an internal hordeolum doesn't
drain and heal, it can turn into a chalazion.
What are the symptoms?
A stye usually starts as a
red bump that looks like a pimple along the edge of the eyelid.
- As the stye grows, the eyelid becomes
swollen and painful, and the eye may water.
- Most styes swell for
about 3 days before they break open and drain.
- Styes usually heal
in about a week.
A chalazion starts as a firm lump or
cyst under the skin of the eyelid.
- Unlike styes, chalazia often don't hurt.
- Chalazia grow more slowly than styes. If a
chalazion gets large enough, it may affect your vision.
inflammation and swelling may spread to the area
surrounding the eye.
- Chalazia often go away in a few months
How is a stye or chalazion diagnosed?
diagnose these problems by closely examining the eyelid. It may be hard to
tell the difference between a stye and a chalazion. If there is a hard lump
inside the eyelid, the doctor will probably diagnose it as a chalazion.
How are they treated?
Home treatment is all that
is needed for most styes and chalazia.
- Apply warm, wet compresses for 5 to 10 minutes, 3 to 6 times a day. This usually
helps the area heal faster. It may also help open a blocked pore so
that it can drain and start to heal.
- Use an over-the-counter
treatment. Try an ointment (such as Stye), solution (such as Bausch and Lomb
Eye Wash), or medicated pads (such as Ocusoft Lid Scrub).
- Let the stye or chalazion open on its own. Don't squeeze or open it.
wear eye makeup or contact lenses until the area has healed.