A stye, also called a hordeolum, is a lump or pimple on the eyelid edge which represents an infection of an oil or mucous-secreting gland. A chalazion is a small lump on the inner or outer surface of the eyelid. It is caused by an inflammatory reaction to material trapped inside an oil-secreting gland in the eyelid. The diagnosis can usually be made during a simple examination of the eyelids.
A chalazion or stye can develop when an eyelid gland becomes blocked. Chalazia vary in size from being barely noticeable to as large as a pea. They are often characterized by a red, swollen area of the eyelid, being sometimes tender, which eventually changes to a painless, slowly growing round mass in the lid.
A sty usually goes away in a week or two. Chalazia generally take longer, disappearing after a month or longer. Chalazia and styes are common and can usually be treated successfully, if necessary.
If you frequently develop a chalazion or stye, be sure to tell your doctor. There may be steps you can take to slow their recurrence. These steps have to do with keeping the eyes clean.
Conditions that suggest Stye / Chalazion
Sty/chalazion or recurrent styes/chalazia
Absence of sty/chalazion
Risk factors for Stye / Chalazion
History of sty/chalazion
Recommendations for Stye / Chalazion
In many cases, applying hot compresses to the eyelid on a frequent basis for several days will make the lump disappear. The more often you apply the compresses, the better the chance of reducing the lump without further treatment.
Minor surgery may be required for cosmetic purposes if the stye / chalazion is not resolving on its own, or if it is desired that the lump be removed right away. A local anesthetic will be injected to make the procedure painless. The incision is often made under the eyelid so that no scar is visible. After the lump is removed, the eyelid may appear a little puffy and bruised for a few days. This surgery is generally very effective with few complications.
The doctor may alternatively inject the lump with an anti-inflammatory medication which can be effective in shrinking and clearing the infection.
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