What are chalazia and styes?
A chalazion (plural: chalazia) is a small lump that develops on or within the eyelid. It usually does not present any pain and does not last longer than a few weeks.
Meibomian glands are in charge of the production of oil that lubricate the eye’s surface. Chalazia can form when meibomian glands at the edge of an eyelid develop a blockage. This can be due to an inflammation of the eyelid caused by infection, or a collection of debris from dirt, oil and dead skin, or eye makeup.
Most people confuse a chalazion with a stye since they appear similar to most. A stye – like a chalazion, is also a small lump that can develop in the eye area. Though the two terms are often used interchangeably, they actually are different conditions and lesions altogether.
A chalazion is the result of a blocked oil gland, thus resulting in a lump where the produced oil has nowhere to go, thus resulting in swelling. A stye, however, is an oil gland or hair follicle that has come under infection, commonly at the edge of the eyelid. It is possible, however, fr a chalazion to develop into a stye when it gets infected.
Styes come in 2 forms:
- External hordeolum: This refers to styes that develop at the root of the eyelash situated at the edge of the eyelid. The stye is formed when infection happens at the follicle of the eyelash
- Internal hordeolum: This type of styes form inside the eyelid. Usually results from an oil gland infection.
The easiest way to tell a chalazion and a stye apart is that a chalazion does not usually come accompanied with pain. Styes, however, are painful. Styes may also cause the eye to feel ‘scratchy’ or sore.