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A chalazion (stye) is a small lump in the eyelid caused by obstruction of an oil producing or meibomian gland. Chalazia may occur in the upper or lower lids, causing redness, swelling and soreness in some cases.


Signs and Symptoms

  • Raised, swollen bump on the upper or lower eye lid
  • Often red
  • May be tender and sore

Detection and Diagnosis

Patients often request an examination after an episode of pain and swelling of the lid. The eye care practitioner can make the diagnosis during a simple examination of the eyelids.


In the early stages, chalazia may be treated at home with the repeated use of warm compresses for 15 - 20 minutes followed by several minutes of light lid massage. This helps to reduce the swelling and makes the lid more comfortable. However, if the chalazion does not diminish or recurs, medical attention may be necessary. This may include draining the chalazion along with the use of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medications.

Illustrations by Mark Erickson
With acknowledgement to St. Lukes Eye Hospital.

Ted Baker
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