Many people think that a chalazion and a stye are the same disease. They are not, but they are related to each other. Another name for a stye is called a hordeolum. Keep reading to learn the differences between a stye and a chalazion.
Timing Of Stye Vs. Chalazion
A chalazion is a chronic reaction. Chronic means that the problem is long lasting and tends to happen over and over again. This means if you have had a chalazion in the past, you are more likely to have a chalazion in the future. A chalazion tends to happen over a slightly longer time than a stye. A stye, or hordeolum, tends to show up quick.
Disease Process Of Stye Vs. Chalazion
A chalazion is chronic inflammation. A stye is usually a mix of infection and inflammation. Antibiotics tend to be more effective in treating styes than they are for treating a chalazion. The exception to this is an antibiotic called doxycycline which is often prescribed for patients with chalazia because it can help to thin out the oily secretions in the glands that are causing the inflammation. In a chalazion, the small meibomian glands of the eyelids are clogged and this clogging leads to build up of the body’s natural oil. When the oil can not freely exit the eyelid, it backs up and causes an inflammatory reaction. This inflammatory reaction looks like a bump on the eyelid. The picture above is a chalazion. The picture below is a stye.
In a stye, there is also a bump on the eyelid. With styes you can sometimes see a whitish area on the bump which is a sign of pus. Pus inside a stye means that there is an infection there. In many cases, if this pus comes out, the stye is likely to get better. A hordeolums can also be more red and tender than a chalazion. The bump associated with a chalazion can be on the eyelid for many weeks and in the later stages is painless.
Preventing Styes And Chalazions
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One similarity between the two is that both styes and chalazions tend to happen more in people who have dysfunction of their meibomian glands. The meibomian glands are tiny glands in the eyelids. You can prevent styes and chalazions by keeping your glands open. Make sure your lids and lashes clean by using a mild shampoo over them daily and keep the glands open by using a warm compress to the eyelid twice daily.
Treating A Stye Vs Chalazion
If you experience a stye or a chalazion, make an appointment with a doctor. You may be eligible to be prescribed an oral medication that can help to thin out the secretions of the meibomian glands. This medication is called doxycycline. This should be used along with warm compresses and eyelid hygiene.
Stye Vs Chalazion: Take Home Points
1. A chalazion is a chronic process of inflammation. A stye is both infectious and inflammatory. Antibiotics will work better for styes than they will for a chalazion, but both may ultimately need to be removed surgically.
2. Both a chalazion and a stye can be prevented by good eyelid hygiene. This means using regular warm compresses to keep the eyelid glands open and also using a mild soapy scrub on the eyelids to keep the eyelids clean.
3. If there is a whitish head on the bump, then it is likely a stye. If the bump is painless and has been there for many weeks it is likely a chalazion.
4. If at-home remedies using warm compresses are not working, make an appointment with an ophthalmologist for both styes and chalazia. There are treatment options that can help you find relief more quickly.