A chalazion (stye) is a benign, painless nodule inside the upper or lower eyelid. It is caused by a blockage in one of the oil gland ducts within the eyelid. The contents of a chalazion are pustular material and blocked oily secretions. Chalazia are common in those with blepharitis, which is an inflammation and infection of the eyelids.
Many chalazia resolve on their own, especially with warm compresses and lid massages. However, some chalazia persist for more than several weeks and grow large enough to become unsightly. If a large chalazion presses on the cornea, temporary astigmatism can develop which can result in blurred vision.
Topical and oral antibiotics are often effective treatment for chalazia. In the case of a bothersome and persistent chalazion, a simple in-office procedure can be performed to drain and excise it. When a chalazion recurs in the same part of the eyelid or has a suspicious appearance, the removed tissue is sent to a lab for analysis. Fortunately, most chalazia are relatively harmless.
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