Chalazion vs. Stye: What’s the Difference?
If you are suffering from an unsightly lump on your eyelid, you might have either a chalazion or a stye. Both eye conditions show up as red or swollen lumps on the eyelid that may or may not be painful. Both eye conditions may be linked to blepharitis, an infection of the eyelid, and both conditions are typically benign and will disappear on their own without treatment. At times, however, treatment may be necessary if the condition worsens instead of improving over time.
What are the Causes of Chalazia and Styes?
Though chalazia and styes may have similar appearances, they are
actually two different eye conditions that show up with slightly different
symptoms. A chalazion is typically larger than a stye and won’t be painful. A
chalazion is caused by the blockage of an oil gland in the eyelid, where the
excess fluid accumulates and forms a cyst under the skin of the eyelid. A stye
is caused by a bacterial infection that grows in one or more eyelash follicles.
This infection then infects the oil glands inside the eyelid, causing a small
red bump along the edge of the eyelid.
Symptoms of a Chalazion
- Large, firm bump on the eyelid
- Grows slowly
- Typically doesn’t hurt
- May cause inflammation of the surrounding area
- Often lasts a few months, without treatment
Symptoms of a Stye
- Red, pimple-like bump on the eyelid
- Swollen and painful
- May cause the eyes to water
- Typically breaks open and drains after a few days
- Usually heals in a week
What Treatments Are Available?
Though both chalazia and styes can be effectively treated with an antibiotic ointment prescribed by one of our doctors, there may be times (in the case of a chalazion) where surgery is recommended. Reasons may include that the condition is not healing, within a reasonable amount of time, or is worsening, or that the condition returns repeatedly or blocks a person’s vision. Chalazion removal surgery takes less than 30 minutes, during which the chalazion is removed through a small incision in the eyelid.