What is a Chalazion?
An eyelid chalazion is simply a stye or growth along the eyelid that does not go away. It is due to a blocked tear gland in the eyelid. It occurs due to a common condition called blepharitis, which causes the many tiny tear glands in the eyelids to produce thick oily secretions. Styes are generally small in size and form as tiny bumps on the inner or outer eyelid, sometimes as a result of a bacterial infection.
Symptoms of blepharitis include ocular irritation, itching, foreign body sensation, and swelling. It can be mild to severe, and can last days to many years. There are a variety of treatment options, including eyelid cleaning (baby shampoo scrubs, warm compresses), oral medication (doxcycycline), and ocular drops (Azasite and antibiotic/steroid combo drops).
A new sty can be painful, red & swollen but that is usually temporary, lasting hours to days. A sty usually goes away on its own. However, some stys don’t go away and result in a chalazion, which is painless. It is a collection of thick mucus and inflammatory response. Treatment options depend on the size and exact location of the chalazion. Treatment options include aggressive eyelid hygiene, injection of specific medications (steroid, 5FU) into the chalazion, and surgical drainage.
From time to time, a surgical procedure like draining is required when the stye does not respond to medication or disappear on its own, however, the application of antibiotic eye drops usually results in its disappearance.
Treatment for Eyelid Styes
Most eyelid styes go away on their own within the first few hours to days. The longer they stay, the less chance they will go away. The size of the eyelid chalazion is also a factor; the larger it is, the less chance it will dissipate. They may get smaller but firmer and don’t go away. An injectable treatment can also complicate the outcome of the stye, so it is important to notify your oculoplastic surgeon about any previous cosmetic procedures prior to undergoing treatment for a stye.
If the eyelid chalazion is large and/or not going away, it is usually drained using a scarless technique from the inside of the eyelid while the patient is under local anesthesia, with or without oral sedation. There is typically a quick recovery. Sometimes, an external cut is required for the growths that have a significant external component or have already been drained internally but have a persistent outside component.
I (Dr. Taban) have had a stye that needed to be removed using the internal scar-less technique. You can watch the video of myself undergoing this procedure on this page.
How To Prevent A Stye
Because styes are most commonly caused by a bacterial infection such as blepharitis, it’s always important to wash your hands before touching your own eyes or others. If you wear contacts, it’s especially important to practice a thorough hygiene routine whenever handling your eye care in order to eliminate germs and bacteria. If re-occurring eye fold styes seem to be a problem for you, you may want to consider visiting an expert ocular surgeon in order to correct this problem.
How Long Will a Chalazion Last?
A new eyelid stye can be painful, but that is usually temporary, lasting hours to days. A sty usually goes away on its own. However, some styes don’t go away and result in a chalazion, which is painless. It is a collection of thick mucus and inflammatory response. Treatment options depend on the size and exact location of the chalazion. Treatment options include aggressive eye fold hygiene, injection of a medicine into the chalazion, and surgical drainage. Dr. Taban uses a special combination of steroid and 5FU mixture to inject chalazions, which usually cause resolution of the chalazion in days to a few weeks without leaving any scars. Dr. Taban has contributed to many textbooks regarding the treatment and procedure process of eyelid chalazions.
Schedule a Consultation Today
As one of the leading oculoplastic surgeons in the Los Angeles area, Dr. Mehryar (Ray) Taban can offer the expert evaluation and customized treatment plan you need to address an unsightly or uncomfortable eyelid bump. Non-surgical options may be all that is necessary to remove a stye. Contact us via online support form, or via telephone at (310) 278-1836
Read Dr. Taban's article about Postoperative Wound ModulationClick to Read
Read more about chalazion treatment at healthline.com.
*See disclaimer below
What NOT to do! Although most eyelid stye (chalazion) go away, there are some that are more aggressive and need to be drained. Parents of this 3 year old girl assumed the stye was going to resolve on its own but it progressively got larger with tissue destruction.
Next, please read about eyelid ectropion and eyelid entropion.
*Disclaimer: Results vary from patient to patient. Results are not guaranteed.