Eyelid Lumps

What is Eyelid Lumps?

Some kinds of infections or eye irritations occur primarily on the eyelid. The two most common kinds — styes and chalazia — both appear as small, sore lumps on the eyelid. They generally go away on their own, although some treatments are described below.

A stye is a red, sore lump near the edge of the eyelid caused by an infected eyelash follicle. It can occur on both the inside or the outside of the eyelid, but is more visible on the outside.

A chalazion is an enlargement of an oil-producing gland in the eyelid. It forms when the gland opening becomes clogged with oil secretions. It is not caused by an infection from bacteria and is not cancerous. Chalazia tend to develop farther from the edge of the eyelid than styes.


Styes usually go away on their own, just like blemishes on the face do. The best treatment is keep the area as clean as possible, but otherwise leave the style alone. Styes do not usually affect your vision. Consult with your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) before using any topical treatments or if the stye leaves behind a pocket of fluid once the inflammation goes away.;

About a fourth of chalazia have no symptoms and will also disappear without any treatment. Sometimes, however, a chalazion may become red, swollen and tender. A larger chalazion may also cause blurred vision by distorting the shape of the eye. Occasionally, a chalazion can cause the entire eyelid to swell suddenly.

Symptoms are treated with one or more of the following methods.

  • Warm compresses, which help clear the clogged gland. Soak a clean washcloth in hot water and apply the cloth to the lid for 10 to 15 minutes, three or four times a day until the chalazion is gone. You should repeatedly soak the cloth in hot water to maintain adequate heat. When the clogged gland opens, you may notice increased discharge from the eye. This should improve.
  • Antibiotic ointments may be prescribed if bacteria infect the chalazion.
  • Steroid injections (usually cortisone) are sometimes used to reduce the inflammation of a chalazion. Surgical removal may be performed if a large chalazion does not respond to other treatments and/or affects vision. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia in the office of your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.).

A chalazion usually responds well to treatment, although some people are prone to recurrences. If a chalazion recurs in the same place, your ophthalmologist may suggest a biopsy to rule out more serious problems.

* Courtesy of www.geteyesmart.org

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