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How to treat chalazia and styes is a question often asked by dry eye sufferers. The causes of these conditions and how to treat them are not well known but it is understood that certain types of dry eye conditions may increase the risk of developing chalazia and styes. Get all the information you need about these conditions in this blog post.

A chalazion and stye are both lumps at the base of an eyelid or in the actual eyelid. The two conditions have many similarities and can be difficult to distinguish from eachother.

A stye will typically appear as a red, sore lump at the base of the eyelid looking like a small pimple. The cause of a stye is an infection in the small oil glands that run along the base of the eyelids. Sufferers of Membomian Gland Dysfunction are accustomed to dealing with problems with these glands such as blocked oil glands, as this is one of the main problems with MGD. Most people are not aware of these glands existence or of their functionality. If you would like to read more about memboitis then click here.

Stye - dry eye image

Image of a stye

A stye usually comes to a head, which is when a clear or yellow fluid collects in the stye. This normally takes about three days. After the stye has come to a head it will usually break open and drain. The healing process normally takes one week.

Chalazion and dry eye image

Image of a chalazion

A chalazion (plural: chalazia) is an inflammation of the oil glands inside the eyelid. It develops over 2 to 3 weeks, forming a firm lump under the skin of the eyelid, sometimes with inflammation and swelling.

The symptoms of a stye or of a chalazia will vary but for both conditions it will typically start with tenderness, or an itching sensation, in the eyelid as well as redness in the affected area. The eye will also gradually become red and irritated

Other symptoms of stye and chalazia are:

– A red bump at the base of the eyelid close to the
eyelashes, usually with a small yellow spot in the center
– A feeling as if something is in your eye
– Sensitivity to light
– Crusting along the eyelid margin
– Tearing

The actual causes of stye and chalazia are not entirely known although they are believed to be associated with touching or rubbing the eyes as well as using products near the eyelid. This can irritate the eyes and transfer bacteria to the skin and cause infections. I have previously written about the importance of hand hygiene for dry eye sufferers. Make sure that you always wash your hands before applying eye drops and avoiding touching your eyes and face.

There can be other causes of chalazia and styes. Although anyone can develop a chalazia or stye very often, sufferers of blepharitis will tend to develop either one. You may also develop the conditions if you;

– Have had chalazia or styes previously
– Have skin conditions such as acnea rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis
– Have other systemic medical conditions, such as diabetes
– Consistently don’t remove eye makeup completely
– Use old or contaminated cosmetics

A painful, tender stye (called a hordeolum) is usually caused by a bacterial infection.  A stye will develop at the base of an eyelash if the eyelash root is infected. This is usually called an external hordeolum. A stye will also develop if there is an infection in one of the tiny lubricating oil glands inside or under the eyelid. When this occurs, it is usually called an internal hordeolum.

A chalazion develops when an oil gland in the eyelid becomes blocked. If an internal hordeolum doesn’t drain and heal, it can turn into a chalazion. Unlike a stye, a chalazion is usually painless.

When you have developed a chalazia or stye it is important not to squeeze or try to “pop” them. If you do, it may spread the infection into the surrounding eyelid tissue. It is very easy to try to pop them but my personal experience is that it will always make it worse. It some cases I have had my eyes swell up really badly. This is especially problematic for sufferers of membomian gland dysfunction as you will not be able to perform eyelid massages as diligently as otherwise, whichcan make the glands in surrounding areas close up.

So how do you treat chalazia and styes? Below is a list of treatments that you can try. I will write a separate post later on about what exact steps I took to get rid of my chalazia and styes altogether.

Warm compresses
Try doing warm compresses three to five times per day. I have covered how to create your own hot compress and how to use it in detail here. You can also try doing a VERY light massage in the surrounding areas. For some the light massage can work but for me it has usually made things worse, so test this carefully. The idea behind the hot compress is for the glands to warm up and release discharge from the chalazia or stye.

Eyelid scrubs
Performing regular eyelid scrubs is crucial as this process will help reduce bacteria and remove debris from both the lids and eyelashes which will lead to a more healthy eyelids.

Antibiotics
An antibiotic ointment may be prescribed if bacteria infect a chalazion, or if a stye does not improve after treatment with warm compresses or if it keeps coming back.

Steroid injections
A steroid (cortisone) injection is sometimes used to reduce swelling of a chalazion.

Surgical removal
If a large chalazion or stye does not heal after other treatments or if it affects your vision it may have to be drained surgically by your doctor. This procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia in your ophthalmologist’s office.

I have written about my personal experience with chalazia here.

As always, please write your thoughts, comments and own experiences below.

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