Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stye Alert! Help to Get Rid of a Stye!

A stye (also referred to as a chalazion) is a sometimes painful nodule that can develop in the upper or lower eyelids. It is caused by a blockage in the oil glands of the lids. This can occur when people have thick oil and inflammation in their glands, a condition known as meibomian gland dysfunction. When the oil glands get blocked, the resulting stagnant oil is a nidus for infection and once infected, the area becomes red, swollen and often tender. Sometimes these resolve on their own with hot compresses. Other times, there can be a fluctuating in the size of the chalazion where it can grow in size and will then start to get smaller until all you are left with is a small bump that is not painful, but that is not changing or resolving. The chalazion may get smaller if it "pops" and some of the infected/inflammatory tissue has a chance to get out. However, when the chalazion reaches a chronic stage where it is not changing, it has likely walled itself off from the body and the only way to treat it is to incise it to release the inflammatory tissue. At this stage, there is no active infection, but rather chronic inflammation.

At the onset of a stye or chalazion, the best treatment is hot compresses for 5 min at a time at least twice a day. In addition, you may be prescribed and antibiotic/anti-inflammatory ointment to help treat the infection and this oftentimes alleviates the need for a procedure. However, if after 2 weeks of this conservative treatment, there has not been a resolution of the chalazion, the best option is to incise and drain the lesion. This is done by anesthetizing the eyelid, making an incision from the inside of the lid, and excising the inflammatory tissue. This gives the body's immune system a chance to get to the source of the inflammation and help it heal.
If you think you have a stye the best course of action is to see an Ophthalmologist who can accurately diagnose you and start you on the appropriate treatment. Feel free to phone Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937.