Chalazion and styes are relatively common disorders of the eye lids. Both of these disorders are more or less “pimples” of the eye lid area. Both of these conditions occur when an eye lid gland becomes plugged up and sometimes infected.
In Greek, the word chalazion means a small lump. We normally have 30 to 40 small oil producing glands running vertically on our upper and lower eye lids. These glands are called Meibomian glands. They produce oil which is essential for a normal tear film. When one or more of these glands becomes plugged up the oil can not get out and one gets a lump usually located slightly distant from the eye lash border. In the acute phase, a chalazion can be quite painful. Even though a chalazion is an inflammatory condition, sometimes a secondary infection can ensue.
The typical treatment for this condition is hot compresses followed by topical antibiotics 3 to 4 times per day for about two weeks. 90% respond well to this conservative treatment. If a chalazion does not go away after one month, a minor surgical procedure can be performed to drain the chalazion and remove any lumpy scar tissue.
A stye is an infection in an eye lash hair follicle gland. It typically manifests itself with a small localized red painful lump at the eye lash border of the eye lid. Just like a chalazion, it is treated with hot compresses and topical antibiotics. The treatment is almost always very effective in making the stye go away.