Stye and chalazion are eyelid disorders causing sudden-onset localized swelling of the eyelid. Both of them are visible bumps that appear near the edge of the eyelid. Many people got confused between them since they both appear in the eyelids edge. But in fact, they are different from each other. 

Initially, they both cause eyelid swelling, edema, hyperemia as well as pain too. But with time, symptoms of chalazion disappear leaving around painless swelling in the eyelid. But styes are really painful. 

What is the difference between stye and chalazion?

Though, both stye and chalazion seem to be the same but they are not. The main difference between them is to observe the bump position because stye is most commonly seen at or near the eyelash follicle whereas chalazion is found underside of eyelid or behind eyelashes mostly in upper eyelids. 

Similarly, another factor that helps to distinguish between them is the cause. Stye is caused mostly by bacterial infection either at the root of eyelash follicle or in the oil gland of the lid whereas chalazion is caused by blocked oil gland that is meibomian glands. 

We have glands in the upper and lower eyelids. They are vertically arranged and we call them meibomian glands. Generally, there are 25 meibomian glands in the upper eyelid and 20 in the lower eyelid. These glands secretes ‘meibum’, an oily secretion that helps to prevent the evaporation of tear film and keeps eyes lubricated. 

Overview of stye and chalazion 

Stye, also known as hordeolum is a localized infection in the eyelids which causes tender, red bumps near the eyelids. It appears as boil or pimple. It is mostly caused by staphylococcus bacteria. They often happen due to clogged or irritated glands in the eyelids. 

It is usually painful and can happen in one eye or both eyes at the same time. They often rupture after a few days or weeks releasing pus and can heal without medical attention. But make sure to visit the hospital if it persists for a long time. 

Meanwhile, Chalazion is a benign, usually painless swelling that happens in the eyelids. It is not caused by any infections. Chalazion is due to blockage of tiny meibomian glands. They tend to grow slowly with time. Occasionally, this swelling continues to grow and an individual may experience slight blurry vision once if it presses the eyelids.

Mostly, chalazion disappears without treatment within 2-8 months time. It may disappear sooner if you do warm compression at home for several times a day. If nothing change occurs then eye specialists can drain them or inject corticosteroid in them. Furthermore, if the condition persists for long, surgery is to be done. 

Who are at high risk of developing styes or chalazion? 

These both conditions are quite common that anyone can develop. But some people are more prone to these conditions. They are given below in points.

  • People who lacks proper eyelid hygiene 
  • Those who has blepharitis (inflammation of eyelids)
  • An individual who had developed stye or chalazion before 
  • People having diabetes are also more prone 
  • Using contaminated or old cosmetic materials are also at risk 
  • People having certain skin conditions like acne rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis. 

What are the symptoms of stye and chalazion? 

Stye commonly begins with a red bump or lump which looks like boil or pimple that appears in the edge of the eyelid. With time, stye grows causing swelling of eyelids, pain, watery eyes and puffy looks of eyelids. In addition to this, following symptoms are also seen in stye.

  • Foreign body sensation in eyes while blinking 
  • Dropiness of the eyelids
  • May experience blurry vision if thick pus or discharge spreads over eyes
  • Burning sensation 
  • Light sensitivity 

Chalazion, initially begins as swollen, red or inflamed areas of eyelids and little pain. But with time, this develops into painless and slow growing lump. One can experience the following symptoms.

  • Heaviness of eyelids 
  • Painless eyelid swelling 
  • Increased watering and irritation 
  • Tenderness
  • Can experience blurry vision if chalazion is big enough to press eyelids. 

How are they treated? 

Depending upon the severity of the condition, there are a number of treatment options. But make sure you do not squeeze it by yourself because doing so can increase the infection and inflammation. 

Firstly, Home treatment is mostly done for both of them. Just Apply Warm Compression for several times a day, 10-15 minutes for each session. This act will help to unclog or open the blocked pore and drain. Similarly, don’t wear contact lenses or eye makeups until it is healed properly. 

Furthermore, if the condition is not showing any positive changes then seek medical attention. 

You may require antibiotic eye drops or ointments (for stye). If the stye is big enough, then doctors may need to pierce it to drain. Make sure not to pierce it by yourself. 

Similarly, in case of chalazion, if the condition remains same then doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics or inject corticosteroid to some people so as to reduce swelling. After all, doctors may advise surgery if the condition is persistent and symptomatic. 

How can you prevent styes and chalazion?

One can follow the following steps so as to prevent this condition.

  1. First of all protect your eyes from dirt, dust and so on. Use safety glasses.
  1. Replace your eye make ups in time.
  1. Make sure to maintain eyelid hygiene if you often gets stye and chalazion 
  1. Treat any eyelids infection and inflammation in time.
  1. Avoid rubbing your eyes. Learn about various effects of rubbing eyes here 

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