Stye and Chalazion

Reviewed By:   Anil Ghimire, MD

Stye and Chalazion are lumps or swelling of eyelids. Stye is a acute and painful condition caused by an infection whereas chalazion is a chronic and painless condition. Stye (also known as external hordeolum) results from infection of the  root of an eyelash by a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus which is normally found in the skin but can cause infection if it  invades the skin. It can affect upper or lower eyelid. Vision is not affected by styes. Most of the time stye gets better by itself in a few days. Hot compress can relieve the pain and help it to burst open.

Chalazion is caused by blockage of oil glands at the edge of eyelids. Unlike stye, chalazion is not an infection and occurs in the inner side of the eyelid.

 

Risk factors

Stye usually occurs for no specific reason. Inflammation of eyelids called blepharitis increases the risk of a stye. Disorders that cause thick glandular secretion like acne rosacea increases the risk of a chalazion.

 

Symptoms

These are some f the symptoms of a stye infection:

  • Red and painful lump in eyelids;
  • Boil or pus filled spot in eyelid;
  • Excessive tearing;
  • Swelling of eyelids.

 

When complications occur stye may lead to:

  • Conjunctivitis;
  • Pain and fever;
  • Sensitivity to light.

 

Symptoms of chalazion are:

  • Redness and swelling of eyelids;
  • Painless, firm lump in eyelids.

 

When to seek care

You should seek medical advice if your stye and chalazion:

  • becomes bigger over short period of time;
  • bleeds or affects your vision; 
  • recurs frequently; or
  • Whole eyeball becomes red and swollen;
  • Swelling and redness spread to cheeks or other parts of face.

 

 

Treatment options

History and physical examination can make the diagnosis. Extensive diagnostic tests are not required. Usually stye and chalazion get better within a week or two by itself without treatment. Warm compress for 5-10 minutes, 3-4 times a day on the stye and chalazion helps ease the pain and drainage of the collection. But you should not squeeze the chalazion on your own.

If it does not get better or complications occur, further treatment is required. Treatment options include:

  • Antibiotics: If the infection has spread to other parts eye or face.
  • Plucking out the eyelashes: This will help pus to drain out of  infected hair follicle in case of styes.
  • Surgery:  Incision and drainage of stye, or incision and curettage of chalazion.

 

Prevention

Good hygiene is the best way to prevent styes and chalazions:

  • Wash your eyes with clean water.
  • Wash your hands before you touch your eyes.
  • Keep your contact lenses clean and wash hands before putting them on.
  • Remove eye makeup before sleep.
  • Do not share your eye makeup with others.

 

If you have a style, you can help prevent spread of the infection by:

  • Not sharing your towels or other face clothes with anyone;.
  • Always washing  your hands after touching the affected eyelid.

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