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Stye, Chalazion – differences and treatment

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Stye and chalazion are benign nodules that appear in our eyelids and once treated properly do not leave any after-effects. They are another two very frequent reasons why our patients come to see us, so today we will dedicate our column to talking about them.

There are various glands found in our eyelids which can get obstructed or affected by infectious processes. {{more}} This in turn causes inflammation of the same with the subsequent formation of a stye or chalazion.

A stye is an acute inflammation of infectious cause found in the rim of the eyelids that can compromise various glands or hair follicles (base of the hair – in this case the eyelash). This can be extremely painful which is incremented upon touch, lasts about a week with adequate treatment and this treatment is purely medical. It’s done with antibiotic drops or ointments, cold compresses during one to two days (to allow the nodule’s gathering) followed by warm compresses several times per day as prescribed by your ophthalmologist. These warm compresses will help to increase the local blood circulation of the stye causing it to burst, emptying its contents.

A chalazion, on the other hand, is a chronic inflammation of the meibomian gland due to obstruction of the same. This nodule is generally found in the internal part of the eyelid; it is not as painful as a stye and can last a number of weeks. Its initial treatment is the same for the first two or three weeks as with the stye with the difference being that almost one hundred percent of chalazion having to be removed by minor surgery (incision and drainage). This procedure can be done perfectly well in our Out-Patient department without any difficulty.

Do not forget, my fellow reader, that if you suspect or detect any of the above mentioned, you should not hesitate to see your ophthalmologist so that he/she can carry out a refraction of your eyes and the pertinent blood tests as there are cases where glasses may be needed or there is a case of undetected diabetes.

• Dr. Pedro A.F. Suarez is a Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

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