Eyelid Bumps: Styes and Chalazion
What are Styes and Chalazia?
Styes and chalazia are lumps in or along the edge of the eyelid. They can become painful and temporarily cause blurry vision, but they are rarely serious. Most will go away on their own without treatment.
- A stye is an infection of eyelash follicle that causes a tender red lump on the eyelid. Most styes occur along the edge of the eyelid.
- A chalazion (say “chuh-LAY-zee-on”) is a lump in the eyelid caused by a plugged oil gland. Chalazia (plural) may look like styes, but they are usually larger and may not hurt. If pressure builds up inside a chalazion, it may be painful.
What Causes a Stye or Chalazion?
Styes are caused by a bacterial infection. Bacteria are normally found on your skin. Some can enter the root (follicle) of an eyelash and start to grow out of control.
A chalazion forms when an oil gland in the eyelid becomes blocked. Think of it as a large pimple on your eyelid. We don’t really know why chalazion develop. Some believe it could be related to the environment, diet, and even hormonal changes.
How are They Treated?
Home treatment is all that is needed for most styes and chalazia.
- Apply warm, wet compresses for 5 to 10 minutes, 3 to 6 times a day. This usually helps the area heal faster. It may also help open a blocked pore so that it can drain and start to heal.
- Use an over-the-counter treatment.
- Let the stye or chalazion open on its own. Don’t squeeze it!
- Don’t wear eye makeup or contact lenses until the area has healed.
If a stye is not getting better with home treatment, give us a call. You may need a prescription for antibiotic eye ointment (sometimes with a steroid). 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 surgically drain it so that it can heal. Do NOT try to lance it yourself.
How Can You Prevent Styes and Chalazia?
- Don’t rub your eyes. This can irritate your eyes and let in bacteria. If you need to touch your eyes, wash your hands first.
- Protect your eyes from dust and air pollution when you can. For example, wear safety glasses when you do dusty chores like raking or mowing the lawn.
- Replace eye makeup, especially mascara, at least every 6 months. Bacteria can grow in makeup.
- If you get styes or chalazia often, wash your eyelids regularly with a little bit of baby shampoo mixed in warm water.
- Treat any inflammation or infection of the eyelid promptly.
- Remember, don’t wait for a stye or chalazion to get completely out of control before you seek care. We would be more than happy to assist you with this type of problem. Give us a call at (210) 485-1488.