An eye stye, is a non-infective, chronic inflammation of the sebaceous gland in your eyelid that typically affects the glands on the rims of your eyelids, resulting in a painless, solid nodule on your eyelid. Styes can affect both lower and upper eyelids. Other conditions associated with styes are posterior blepharitis and acne rosacea. Aggressive styes can form into Job Syndrome or hyperimmunoglobulinemia E.
Chalazion is a similar bump caused by blocked oil glands instead of an infection, but that can be treated with the same procedure. Chalazion is often the result of the formation of meibomitis, which is a blockage of the glands on the outer edge of your eyelid. Styes are infectious and can become inflamed, causing a warm, tense swelling on your eyelids, as well as forming an unsightly bump.
Many styes clear up within two weeks of simple stye treatment: a topical antibiotic and steroid medication and the application of a warm compress. These measures reduce inflammation and increase local blood flow.
For larger styes that don’t resolve after a couple of weeks, incision and curettage is an effective stye treatment. In the case of multiple styes with no infection, a local intralesional injection of medication may decrease the stye swelling and growth in the course of a few weeks. This can also be an alternative to standard chalazion surgery.
Reasons for Stye Surgery
There are many reasons for surgically removing styes, which include:
- Stye formation creates pressure on your eyeball
- Disruption in vision
- Eyelid feels heavy
- Constant tearing caused by irritation of the stye
- Cosmetic reasons
- Fear of spreading the infection
Symptoms that may indicate a need for stye surgery include:
- Multiple styes
- Styes don’t respond to conventional treatment
- Massive chalazia — so large that conventional stye treatment doesn’t reduce them
- A stye that affects your eyeball, causing astigmatism or refractive errors
Typically, surgical removal of styes is a last resort, only undertaken when all the other conventional stye treatments have failed. Alternatives to surgery include applying a warm compress to the eye, massaging eyelids to unblock glands, and using antibiotics for infections.
The procedure to surgically remove styes is brief, taking as little as 15 to 30 minutes. You may be asked to stay at the clinic or healthcare facility after the surgery for a longer period of observation, up to an hour or so.
The technique for removing a typical stye is as follows:
- Local anesthesia is applied to the skin.
- A surgical clamp called a chalazion clamp grips the eye so its hoop-like openings surrounds the stye while the other part of the clamp provides support beneath the eyelid. The circular opening exposes the conjuctival aspect of the eyelid to control the bleeding during surgery.
- A radiofrequency cautery tip or a Bard-Parker blade is used to incise the eyelid over the area of the stye, being careful not to cut the lid margin.
- The curette scrapes the cyst and surfaces until all the contents of the chalazion and the wall of the cyst are removed from your eyelid. The curetted materials are always sent to the lab to rule out cancer or other diseases.
- The wound is then inspected and any remaining tissues are severed until the wound is free of chalazion content.
- Your doctor then removes the clamp and applies pressure over the site to control the bleeding.
- Clots are cleaned from the wound, and antibiotic ointment is applied to the affected eye for one day.
- If a stye appears externally, it is removed in the same manner. Small incisions on your skin are made, and they’re left without stitches. You’re instructed to gently massage the surface for two weeks after the surgery to help smooth out the scar surface and leave a good cosmetic appearance.
Risks of Stye Surgery
There are potential side effects and complications associated with chalazion or stye surgical removal that include:
- Recurrences of additional styes
- Inadvertent eye trauma (accidental injury to the nearby tissue or bone)
- Lid scarring (such as notching) due to the incision on the lid margin
- Instability of the tarsal plate caused by incisions that were too large
Various risks may be caused by the injection of local anesthetic, including atrophy of the tarsal plate, hypopigmentation at the injection site, a visible deposit of the medication and a rise in intraocular pressure — called the IOP, it’s the pressure of the liquid inside your eyeball.
Results of Stye Surgery
The likely outcome after the recovery from the surgical procedure is excellent, with only mild discomfort. However, most patients who suffer from a stye are more apt to have other styes grow in other parts of the eyelid.
Once you arrive at home after a chalazion removal procedure, the following post-operative care is typically recommended:
- Apply a warm compress intermittently for 10 to 15 minutes, for up to two days after surgery
- Use the antibiotic eye drops prescribed by your doctor
- Seven to 10 days after the surgery, wash the eyelid with soap and water
- Once you recover completely, you may resume daily activities
- Take only the medications your eye doctor prescribes and avoid any pain killers or non-prescribed drugs
Recovery from a stye surgical procedure typically takes about one week. After the operation, a steroid and antibiotic drop treatment is prescribed for that week. This also includes lubricant drops for your eye. Initially, you should apply a cold compress to the eye for the first 48 hours, and then warm compresses after that, several times a day.
When multiple styes are removed, a course of oral tetracyclines may be prescribed for up to one month. Tetracycline is an antibiotic that fights bacteria. You’re instructed to follow rigid eye hygiene care when you’re fully recovered to help prevent the growths of new styes.
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult eye doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified eye doctor can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Do you have any questions about Stye treatment and surgery procedure in NYC? Would like to schedule an appointment with the top Ophthalmologist in New York City, Optometrist Dr. Saba Khodadadian of Manhattan Eye Specialists, please contact our office for consultation with NYC eye doctor.
Dr. Saba Khodadadian, Optometrist (NYC Eye Doctor)
New York, NY 10010
(Between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
☎ (212) 533-4821