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Chalazion - Diagnosis and Treatment of Styes


A chalazion, or stye, appears as a well defined swelling within the eyelid. The upper and lower eyelids each contain about 30 oil secreting glands that open at the edge of the lid, and travel deep within the tarsal plate of the eyelid. If one or more of these glands becomes blocked, the gland continues to make the secretion, but this is trapped within the lid and eventually forms a rounded lump within the lid. There may be mild soreness initially since the trapped material creates some inflammation in the eyelid. The swelling may protrude toward the eye, toward the outside and appear to be just under the skin, or protrude at the edge of the eyelid. Conditions such as blepharitis and rosacea may lead to chalazion formation.

Your chalazion will be drained and we will apply hot compresses to the eyelid a few times a day for a few days to a week. An antibiotic ointment or an oral antibiotic may help. In cases where the chalazion does not drain fully, it can be drained surgically under local anesthesia in the office or as an outpatient procedure with mild sedation.


Sometimes a chalazion leads to the formation of a "granuloma", which is a reactive fleshy growth on the inside of the eyelid. This too can be removed if necessary. Masses in the eyelid can put pressure on the eye which can temporarily cause astigmatism, or a change in the shape of the eye.