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What are Chalazions and Styes?

Your eye is a sensitive area and the smallest disruption to the normal structure can create discomfort and worry. Chalzions and styes are small lumps/bumps that can develop along the eyelid for separate distinct reasons.
Pronounced kuh-lay-zee-un, a chalazion is a lump in the eyelid created by a blocked oil gland, technically called the Meibomian gland. A blocked gland slowly swells, getting larger over time, and can reach the size of a pea.

More common in adults than children, the chalazion is easily mistaken for a stye; however, a chalazia usually develops farther from the eyelid’s edge, and is less painful than a stye.

Signs and Symptoms that you have a Chalazion

  • Painless bump/lump in the eyelid – chalazion more often develop in the upper eyelid, though they are known to sometimes develop in the lower eyelid.
  • Blurred vision or sight – this can occur if the chalazion presses against the eyeball.
  • Tearing – constant irritation of the eye ducts causing eyes to weep.

A chalazion is not usually a result of an eye infection, but it may appear as an after effect of a stye. Treatment is often not necessary and the chalazion will disappear within a few weeks, though they frequently come back.

If a chalazion becomes too uncomfortable, or interferes with daily function, minimal treatment is advised. Warm compresses help to relieve pressure by softening the oil blocking the ducts, which encourages drainage. Gently massaging the area may also help them drain. As with any open wound, once the chalazion drains, keep the area sterile and avoid touching your eyes.

What is a Stye?

A stye is a red, tender lump that appears near the edge of the eyelid. Although they are usually found on the outside of the eyelid, a stye can also form inside or under the eyelid.

Styes are caused by infections of the eyelash follicle; the lump is filled with pus and looks similar to a boil, or pimple. Although unsightly, they often disappear without treatment within a few days.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Pain in the infected area
  • Swollen lump on the eyelid that looks like a pimple
  • Tearing/weeping eyes

Medical treatment usually isn’t needed for styes; however, a doctor should be contacted if the stye fails to improve after 48 hours, or if the swelling extends to other parts of the face.

If you are experiencing eye pain or show signs of a chalzion or stye and have further questions about eyelid care, please contact the office of Savannah eye specialists, Dr. Michael Landa and Dr. Elizabeth Landa.