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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
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Learning about styes and chalazia:
Treating a stye or chalazion:
EyeCare America is a public service program of the
Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This site aims to raise awareness about
eye diseases and eye care. It has information about eye conditions, treatments, and general eye health. You can check to see if you qualify for a free eye exam.
As part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the National Eye
Institute provides information on eye diseases and vision research.
Publications are available to the public at no charge. The Web site includes
links to various information resources.
Other Works ConsultedDambro MR (2006). Hordeolum (stye). In Griffith's 5-Minute Clinical Consult, p. 520. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Neff AG, Carter CD (2009). Benign eyelid lesions. In M Yanoff, JS Duker, eds., Ophthalmology, 3rd ed., pp.
1422–1433. Edinburgh: Mosby.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.Vagefi MR, et al. (2011). Lids and lacrimal apparatus. In P Riordan-Eva, ET Cunningham, eds., Vaughan and Asbury's General Ophthalmology, 18th ed., pp. 67–82. New York: McGraw-Hill.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 (2008). Pediatric "pink eye." In Pediatric Ophthalmology for Primary Care, 3rd ed., pp. 159–187. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
January 25, 2013
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
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