Most styes are actually internal hordeola. An internal hordeolum is an acute infection of the Meibomian gland whereas a stye (or external hordeolum) is an acute infection of one of two glands of the eyelash follicle (gland of Zeis or gland of Moll). Either way, the initial treatment is fairly similar. Heat is the most affective form of treatment. Many products can be used to apply heat effectively to the eyelid. The most effective typically involve a commercially available eye compress. However, many individuals use a cloth sack filled with rice or flax seed, tea bags and even potatoes. These are treatments that have been used for thousands of years in some form or another and are likely still as effective. A chalazion is a hordeolum or stye that has become chronic (present for more than 3 months). Once the condition transitions to this chronic state, it more often requires surgical drainage. This is an in office procedure and can be completed by any of our surgeons.
If you are having discharge/morning matting of the lashes/crusting, you would likely benefit from a topical antibiotic or antibiotic/steroid (eye drop) or ointment.
If the swelling or redness is substantial, you could have an infection of the eyelid skin called cellulitis. If this is the case, then you may require an oral antibiotic. This condition can be more serious and needs close follow-up and sometimes even hospitalization if progresses to the orbit or eye socket.
Many patients ask about the cause for styes and chalazia. This gets complicated as there are multiple known risk factors for these plugged, infected glands. Some of these include: blepharitis, seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea, diabetes, and elevated lipids. Causes of blepharitis include: chronic contact lens wear, dysbiosis (breakdown of the natural ecosystem of your microbiome), Demodex mites, atopy (involving triad of seasonal allergies/eczema/asthma), and medication use.
Persistent or recurrent hordeola can sometimes warrant a biopsy to rule out a cancerous lesion. If this is you, make sure you call in to make an appointment today.
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