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PATIENT EDUCATION

CHALAZION AND HORDEOLUM

Chalazion

 

Chalazion, also known as a meibomian gland lipogranuloma, is a cyst in the eyelid that is caused by inflammation of the meibomian gland, usually on the upper eyelid. Chalazions differ from hordeolums in that they are usually painless apart from the tenderness caused when they swell up. A chalazion may eventually disappear on its own after a few months, though more often than not, some treatment is.

The primary treatment is application of warm compresses for 10 - 20 minutes at least 4 times a day. This may soften the hardened oils blocking the duct and promote drainage and healing.

 

Topical antibiotic eye drops or ointment (eg chloramphenicol or fusidic acid) are sometimes used for the initial acute infection, but are otherwise of little value in treating a chalazion. Chalazia will often disappear without further treatment within a month or so.

 

If they continue to enlarge or fail to settle within a few months, they may be surgically removed using local anesthesia. This is usually done from underneath the eyelid to avoid a scar on the skin. Rarely chalazia may reoccur and these will be biopsied to help rule out tumors.

Hordeolum

A stye (also spelled sty) or hordeolum is an inflammation of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes. They are harmless but can be very painful. They are generally caused by a Staphylococcus bacteria infection. They are particularly common in infants.

Most styes will drain on their own though this may be accelerated with a hot or warm compress. Styes typically resolve within 1 week with treatment.

 

Medical professionals will sometimes puncture a particularly persistent or irritating stye with a needle, to accelerate its draining. Their spread or expansion can also be fought with the use of antibiotic ointment akin to Neosporin (e.g. Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment), a special version being available for styes, which can be applied in a ribbon along the lid, on either inside or out.

 

Various folk remedies call for holding a metal or wooden spoon against the stye or the rubbing of a gold ring on the stye.