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Styes and Chalazia - Topic Overview

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.
  • Don't wear eye makeup or contact lenses until the area has healed.

If a stye is not getting better with home treatment, talk to your doctor. You may need a prescription for antibiotic eye ointment or eyedrops. You may need to take antibiotic pills if infection has spread to the eyelid or eye.

If a stye or chalazion gets very large, the doctor may need to pierce (lance) it so it can drain and heal. Do not try to lance it yourself.

How can you prevent styes and chalazia?

  • Don't rub your eyes. This can irritate your eyes and let in bacteria. If you need to touch your eyes, wash your hands first.
  • Protect your eyes from dust and air pollution when you can. For example, wear safety glasses when you do dusty chores like raking or mowing the lawn.
  • Replace eye makeup, especially mascara, at least every 6 months. Bacteria can grow in makeup.
  • If you get styes or chalazia often, wash your eyelids regularly with a little bit of baby shampoo mixed in warm water.
  • Treat any inflammation or infection of the eyelid promptly.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 25, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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