It may be a stye (if it is painful), however te way you are descrbing
it it seems more likely to be a chalazion (if painless) here are the
A sty is a pimple or abscess that forms in either the upper or lower
eyelid. The medical term for sty is hordeolum(say HOR-dee-oh-lumm) and
it is an infection caused by bacteria that normally live peacefully on
the eyelid skin surface. Some of thee germs get trapped along with dead
skin cells inside crypts along the eyelid margin. Stys are usually
superficial and plainly visible. Occasionally they can reside deeper
within the eyelid.
An external sty starts as a pimple next to an eyelash. It turns into
a red, painful swelling that usually lasts several days before it
bursts and then heals. Most external stys are short-lived and
An internal sty(on the underside of the lid) also causes a red,
painful swelling, but its location prevents the familiar whitehead from
appearing on the eyelid. The internal sty may disappear completely once
the infection is past, or it may leave a small fluid-filled cyst or
nodule that can persist and may have to be opened and drained.
Folks tend to confuse a sty with another common lid lump - the
chalazion (say cha-LAY-zee-yon). A chalazion is very different from a
sty and is not an infection. It is instead a firm, round, smooth,
painless bump usually some distance from the edge of the lid. A
chalazion is a local tissue reaction to oily glandular secretions that
were unable to reach the lid surface because the duct was blocked by
Stys and chalazia are usually harmless and rarely affect yourWhat Causes It?
eyeball or your eyesight. They can occur at any age and tend to
Stys are usually caused by staphylococcal bacteria, which often live
right on the skin surface. Truth be told, our bodies are coated with
billions of friendly bacteria that coexist with us. When the conditions
are just right the bacteria feast on dead cells and other debris,
resulting in the tender pimple.
For the sake of comparison, a chalazion is caused by the blockage of
tiny eyelid gland ducts that normally transports an oily substance
called meibom. This oily material enters the tear film to prevent tear
evaporation. Trapped or misplaced oil stimulates the immune system to
cleanup the mess. Chalazia develop over weeks-to-months.
Here are some photos of a chalazion
A chalazion is a lump in the eyelid that is caused
by inflammation of a gland within the skin. Typically, this lump grows
over days to weeks and is occasionally red, warm, or painful.
The gland involved in the formation of a chalazion
is a modified sweat gland that lies within the eyelid. This gland
produces oil. When this gland becomes blocked, it can rupture and the
inflammation process begins.
- Inflammation is a process in which the body reacts to a condition
and produces a biologic reaction. This reaction can cause swelling,
redness, pain, or warmth.
- A chalazion is not a sty. A sty
can resemble a chalazion in the sense that it is also a lump in the
eyelid. However, a sty involves glands and eyelash hair follicles that
are closer to the skin surface of the eyelid. In addition, a sty is
usually more painful and looks infected.
- Warm compresses may be helpful. Hold a warm, wet towel on the eyelid for 10-15 minutes, 2-4 times a day, to reduce swelling.
- Lightly massage the area several times a day.
- Do not "pop" or scratch the chalazion.
Treatment of the chalazion may include the following:
- Application of warm compresses for about 15 minutes, 2-4 times a day, to reduce swelling
- A prescription for antibiotic eyedrops or ointments if a bacterial infection is suspected to be the cause
- Injection of a steroid medicine to help decrease the inflammation
- Surgical removal of the lump if it creates symptoms or lasts for weeks
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