Chalazion and Stye
A chalazion often is indistinguishable from a stye. Both are bumps that occur along the edge of your eyelids. A chalazion stye, however, usually develops further inside the rim of your eyelid, whereas a normal stye usually appears on the edge of your eyelid. A stye that appears on the inside of your eyelid is clinically called a hordeolum. The plural word for chalazion is chalazia.
The chalazion comes from Greek origin meaning “small bump.” A stye is caused by an infection, often from an infected eyelash or from bacterium spread from your nose to your eyes. You also can get a stye from another person by sharing towels or shaking hands and then touching your eye. A chalazion stye, on the other hand, results from a blocked oil gland and usually has nothing to do with bacteria.
A stye can turn into chalazion once the infection has been treated. Chalazion is usually much bigger than a stye too. It’s not cancerous or dangerous, although the bump can cause you discomfort, interrupt your normal vision and look kind of scary.
Symptoms of Chalazion and Stye
Because the symptoms are so similar, you may not even know which kind of bump is on your eye until you see your ophthalmologist. Chalazia and styes both can be treated at home without much trouble; a chalazion may go away on its own with no interference from you at all. And there usually isn’t any pain associated with chalazia, whereas you can experience extreme pain when you get a stye.
Symptoms you may notice if you have chalazion or stye include:
- Tearing and watery eyes for no apparent reason
- Feeling like you have a foreign matter in your eye
- A red bump along the edge of your eyelid
- Pus in the bump
- Light sensitivity
- Crustiness along your eyelashes
A chalazion, also called a meibomian cyst, is cyst filled with fluid, compared to a stye that’s filled with thick white pus. You should never try to puncture a chalazion or stye because you can cause irreparable harm to your vision, damage your eye or cause the infection to spread even further. Additionally, you can create permanent scarring if you try to squeeze a bump on your eye by yourself.
Who’s at Risk
While children often present with styes more often than adults, chalazia are more commonly seen in adults between the ages of 30 and 50 who also have a correlating disease like rosacea or blepharitis. Anyone can develop a chalazion, but you’re at a greater risk if you:
- Rely on old or out-of-date cosmetics
- Sleep with your eye makeup on
- Have another skin condition like seborrheic dermatitis
- Suffer other systemic conditions such as diabetes or compromised immune system
- Have had chalazion or a stye in the past
- Touch your eyes often during the day
- Don’t wash your hands on a regular basis, especially before touching your eyes
- Have an internal stye that has not completely drained
When you have rosacea, which usually manifests as redness on your face and unsightly bumps under your skin, you’re at risk of developing chalazion because it easily spreads to your eyelids. The chalazion caused by rosacea that has spread to your eyes usually is referred to as ocular rosacea.
Diagnosing Your Eye Problems
If the bump that you’ve discovered on your eye doesn’t dissipate within 48 hours, you need to visit your eye doctor for a definitive diagnosis and to get some guidance on treating the problem. Not only are chalazia uncomfortable, but they also are unsightly. While you may not be contagious, as in the case of many styes, people may think that you are and avoid you as long as the big red bump on your eye remains visible.
Your ophthalmologist most likely can tell you quickly what’s wrong. A simple eye test usually is all that’s needed for a diagnosis. Combined with an interview where you explain your symptoms, how long you’ve had them and if you’ve ever had them before, your doctor can conclude which type of stye you have.
Treatment’s Increasingly Progressive
Chalazion and eye stye are treated in very much the same way.
- The first step is to try home remedies aimed at dislodging the fluid in the bump so that it can heal. You’re encouraged to apply warm compresses to your eye periodically during the day for 10 to 15 minutes. Continue this treatment four or five times a day until the bump is gone. Use only clean cloths every time and soak the washcloth in hot water to get it as steamy as you can stand.Once the clogged gland pops, a yellowish liquid will drain out. Gentle massaging can help to move the rest of the fluid out. Since a chalazion is relatively painless, this treatment shouldn’t cause you any pain either.
- If the chalazion is persistent and doesn’t respond to your home treatment, you should return to the eye doctor, who may try antibiotics. Your doctor may apply antibiotic eye cream directly on your eye to treat a potential stye infection or another, underlying infection that’s moved to your eye. However, since chalazia typically are not infectious, this treatment may not be effective if you only have a blocked oil gland.
- Steroid injections can help to reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by chalazia, but that treatment is slightly painful. Your doctor numbs the area with a topical numbing cream before inserting a tiny needle into the bump.
- If none of the less invasive treatments work, your doctor may have to resort to surgery. Surgery to remove chalazion and styes is done right in the doctor’s office and only takes 10 to 15 minutes. You may be given something to relax you and a numbing agent on the area to be excised.
- Your doctor then makes a small incision and drains the bump. The excess skin and scar tissue is scraped away, leaving a fresh spot on your eye. You‘re asked to refrain from wearing makeup or contacts until the small cut heals completely.
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 Chalazion and Stye? Would like to schedule an appointment with a best NYC Ophthalmologist or Optometrist, Dr. Saba Khodadadian of NY 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