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Styes and chalazia
are lumps in or along the edge of an eyelid. They may be painful or annoying,
but they are rarely serious. Most will go away on their own without
Styes and chalazia may be related to
blepharitis, a common problem that causes inflammation
of the eyelids.
Styes are caused
by a bacterial infection. Usually the bacteria grow in the root (follicle) of
an eyelash. An
internal hordeolum is caused by infection in one of
the tiny oil glands inside the eyelid.
A chalazion forms when
an oil gland in the eyelid becomes blocked. If an internal hordeolum doesn't
drain and heal, it can turn into a chalazion.
A stye usually starts as a
red bump that looks like a pimple along the edge of the eyelid.
A chalazion starts as a firm lump or
cyst under the skin of the eyelid.
diagnose these problems by closely examining the eyelid. It may be hard to
tell the difference between a stye and a chalazion. If there is a hard lump
inside the eyelid, the doctor will probably diagnose it as a chalazion.
Home treatment is all that
is needed for most styes and chalazia.
If a stye is not getting better with home treatment, talk
to your doctor. You may need a prescription
for antibiotic eye ointment or eyedrops. You may need to
take antibiotic pills if infection has spread to the eyelid or eye.
If a stye or chalazion gets very large, the doctor may need to pierce
(lance) it so it can drain and heal. Do not try to lance
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Learning about styes and chalazia:
Treating a stye or chalazion:
EyeCare America is a public service program of the
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Other Works Consulted
Dambro MR (2006). Hordeolum (stye). In Griffith's 5-Minute Clinical Consult, p. 520. Philadelphia:
Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Neff AG, Carter CD (2009). Inflammatory lesions section of Benign eyelid lesions. In M
Yanoff, JS Duker, eds., Ophthalmology, 3rd ed., pp.
1431–1432. Edinburgh: Mosby Elsevier.
Sullivan JH (2008). Lids, lacrimal apparatus, and
tears. In P Riordan-Eva, JP Whitcher, eds., Vaughan and Asbury's General Ophthalmology, 17th ed., pp. 79–97. New York:
Trobe JD (2006). The red eye. Physician's Guide to Eye Care, 3rd ed., chap. 4, pp. 47–51.
San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Weinberg RS (2007). Diseases of the eyelid,
conjunctiva, and anterior segment of the eye. In LR Barker et al., eds.,
Principles of Ambulatory Medicine, 7th ed., pp.
1816–1829. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Wright KW (2003). Pediatric "pink eye". In
Pediatric Ophthalmology for Primary Care, pp. 167–196.
Denver: American Academy of Pediatrics.
November 15, 2011
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
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