Styes and chalazion are caused by blocked oil glands on the eyelid. They usually go away on their own, without threatening your sight or overall ocular health. However, if your stye or chalazion does not clear up by itself, or if it is causing you significant discomfort, you may need medical treatment. At SightMD, our doctors are ready to provide effective treatment, usually starting with antibiotic medication. If you require further care, you may benefit from minor surgery to remove or lance the blockage. Our doctors use gentle, precise techniques to minimize your discomfort during these simple procedures.
What Is a Stye?
A stye occurs when an oil gland becomes blocked, trapping bacteria and forming an abscess or pimple. Styes are often filled with pus, and they can be quite red and painful. There are two types of styes: external and internal. External styes are located near the eyelash line. They grow in size over several days before they eventually burst on their own. Internal styes develop on the inside of the eyelid. Like external styes, they consist of red, painful bumps. Usually, external styes will subside after the infection clears up. Both internal and external styes can affect patients of all ages. In addition to physical discomfort and redness, they can cause crusting in the eyes and excess tearing.
A chalazion is also caused by a blocked oil gland, but unlike a stye, it is not the result of infection. Chalazia occur when oil builds up inside the gland, creating a small lump. They can also appear when scar tissue builds up around a stye. These lumps can cause tearing and, if they are big enough to press on your eye, they can cause blurred vision. Chalazia will typically go away on their own, although it is common for them to return.
Styes and chalazia usually go away without medical attention. You can promote faster healing by applying a warm compress to your eye, four times a day for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. You should avoid touching your eye, and you should not share towels, washcloths, or pillowcases with other people. Your doctor may advise you to throw away any eye makeup and stop wearing contacts until the infection clears up.
If the lump does not go away in about a month, if it causes significant discomfort, or if it is interfering with your daily life, you should seek medical treatment. At SightMD, we offer conservative treatment for styes and chalzia. We may recommend simple antibiotic treatment before pursuing more aggressive options. Typically, antibiotic creams or oral medications are the most effective cures for persistent styes. In rare instances, your doctor may lance the lesion, or surgically remove it using an incision on the back of the eyelid to avoid scarring.