What is a chalazion or "stye"?

A chalazion or stye is a "pimple" of the eyelid. One of the glands in the eyelid becomes plugged and traps bacteria, causing a small pustule. When this first happens, the stye looks very red and is painful and tender. With time, especially if you apply warm compresses to it every 2 hours, it will break open and discharge pus. This will help it heal. This sometimes causes it to gradually disappear. However, sometimes a non-tender bump remains. This is called a "chalazion" and often needs to be "cut out" with minor surgery.

How do you treat a "stye"?

A stye is caused by plugging of the glands in the lids, a condition called blepharitis. Since blepharitis is a chronic condition, it is important to practice regular lid hygiene with warm compresses and lid shampooing to prevent the glands from getting plugged. Once a stye forms, using warn compresses every 2 hours for a few minutes at a time will help encourage the stye to drain. Over time, once it drains, if there is still a bump that remains, this can be removed with minor lid surgery.

How is the lid surgery for a "stye" or "chalazion" performed?

This is a simple clinic procedure, done under local anaesthetic, usually 2% lidocaine with epinephrine. This in injected into the area with a tiny needle. You may feel a pinch during this injection. The lid is then flipped over and cut from underneath so that there are no scars on the surface of your eyelids. The scar tissue and pus in the chalazion are scraped out. No stitches are required. The eye is patched for a few hours with some ointment (usually a steroid and antibiotic combination). The eye patch can be removed after 6 hours.

What should I expect after this surgery?

Your vision may be a bit blurry from having the patch on for a few hours. This will clear up. There usually is bloody discharge for the first 24 hours or so, since the hole that is made under your lid to drain the stye (chalazion) is allowed to continue draining and is not stitched up.

How long will it take to recover?

It will take 1-2 days to recover from this procedure. Usually, you can go back to school or work in about a day.

Will I have to use any drops or ointment after this surgery?

Yes, usually a combination steroid/antibiotic ointment, for example Maxitrol ®; Tobradex ® is used twice daily for two weeks. Please note that steroids should not be used longer than the prescribed period since they can cause elevation in eye pressure. Ointments are used to make sure the medication stays on the lids. They can blur your vision temporarily after being used. Read more on how to apply eye ointment

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