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Eye Clinic & Optometry Centre for Children and Adults

Chalazion (Stye)

The term chalazion is defined as a small lump.

A chalazion is a small bump in the eyelid caused by a blockage of a tiny oil gland. A chalazion progresses in the glands that produce the fluid that lubricates the eye. These are called meibomian glands. The eyelid has approximately 100 of these glands, which are located near the eyelashes.

A chalazion is caused by an obstruction of the duct that drains one of these glands. It is not caused by eternal factor like an infection from bacteria, and it is not cancerous.

Blepharitis (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction)


The difference between a chalazion and a stye?

A chalazion is confused with a stye, which also happens to look like a lump on the eyelid.

A stye is red and a sore lump near the edge of the eyelid caused by an infected eyelash follicle.

Chalazion tends to develop further, away from the edge of the eyelid than stye.


How is a chalazion treated?

Chalazion does not have any symptoms and will disappear without any treatment. However, a chalazion may become red, swollen, and tender. A larger chalazion may also cause vision to be blurred and distorting the shape of the eye. Occasionally, it will cause the whole eye to swell suddenly.

A chalazion will often disappear without treatment in a month or so. The primary treatment is to apply warm compresses for 10-15mins at least 2-4 times a day. This will soften the hardened oils blocking the duct and it will improve drainage and healing. If the chalazion continues to get bigger, surgery may then be required. This is usually done from underneath the eyelid to avoid scar on the face area. It will usually be done under local anesthesia and can be done in the clinic.

Antibiotic eye drops are usually used a few days before and also after the lump is removed. However, the eyedrops are not much use otherwise then treating a chalazion.

Steroid injection is sometimes used to reduce inflammation of a chalazion.



Cleaning the eyelid may prevent the condition from returning for people who are more prone to chalazion.

Warm compresses: Warm compresses help to clear the clogged gland. Soak a clean washcloth in hot water and apply the cloth to eyelid for 10-15 minutes say about 3-4 times a day until the chalazion is gone. You should soak the cloth in hot water to maintain adequate heat. When the clog gland opens, you may notice some discharge from the eye. This should help.