Styes & Chalazions
A stye and a chalazion are small fluid-filled lumps that develop in or at the edge of the eyelid. A stye is often filled with pus and appears on the eyelid as a small red bump that may look like a boil, while a chalazion is similar but usually larger and not as painful. A chalazion is a small, non-infectious lump that develops in the upper or lower eyelid due to the blockage of the meibomian gland, an oil gland in the eyelid. Styes usually heal within a week, while chalazions can take a few months to heal.
Causes of a Chalazion
There are almost 100 meibomian glands in the eyelid, located near the eyelashes. When the duct that drains the gland is blocked, the fluid becomes backed up inside the gland and forms a chalazion. A chalazion may also form as a result of an eyelid infection. Larger chalazions may gradually obstruct vision.
Treatment of a Chalazion
Chalazion usually resolve on their own, over the course of time. It can take a few months before they disappear. To treat a chalazion, the following options are available:
- Warm compresses applied four times a day for 10 to 15 minutes each time
- Antibiotic ointment
- Steroid injection
- Surgical drainage
While older children and adults may undergo the surgical drainage procedure in a doctor's office under local anesthesia, general anesthesia is usually recommended for a chalazion removal in young children. If a chalazion recurs in the same place, a tissue biopsy may be conducted in order to rule out a more serious issue.
Causes of a Stye
A stye is usually caused by the staphylococcus bacteria. Some of the conditions contributing to the development of a stye include:
- Lack of cleanliness
- Touching the eyes with unclean hands
Treatment of a Stye
In most cases, a stye will begin to disappear on its own in a few days. The pain or discomfort of a sty may be relieved by applying a warm, clean washcloth to the eyelid. If the stye does not go away, other treatment options are available. They may include:
Antibiotic eyedrops or ointment
Surgery to drain the stye and reduce pressure
Patients should avoid wearing makeup or contact lenses until after the stye or chalazion has healed.