Chalazion ( plural= chalazia) or commonly called a “stye” is a common, benign, non-infectious inflammation of the eyelid that occurs when the major oil (lipid) producing gland of the eyelid (meibomian gland) is obstructed, preventing its normal secretion onto the surface of the eye (see diagram below). The obstruction may occur from an underlying inflammation and debris accumulation along the eyelid margin, termed blepharitis. Blepharitis is often associated with the dermatologic condition termed rosacea (reddening of the skin and fine vessels seen on the face). The chalazion most commonly presents as a single reddish nodule near the lid margin, though multiple lesions may occur. Fortunately, most lesions respond well to a conservative course of warm compresses to the eyelid and attentive eyelid hygiene. In the event that the chalazion does not resolve with this conservative treatment steroid injection or, more commonly, surgical incision and drainage is performed in the office surgical suite. Prior to the procedure it is critical to apply warm compresses for a couple of days, as the heat tends to help liquefy the congealed wax-like fatty secretions of the eyelid facilitating its surgical drainage. The doctor will examine you closely to see if there are any atypical features of the chalazion that may warrant biopsy.
Left: Chalazion of right upper lid and left lower lid. Right: Close-up view of right upper lid with “pointing” of the chalazion at the eyelid gland (Meibomian) opening.
Left: Schematic of chalazion. Cross-sectional view of an upper lid (front is to the left): A) Obstruction of eyelid meibomian glands B) Fatty contents of eyelid glands expanding into soft tissue of eyelid C) Surrounding redness of eyelid secondary to inflammation. Right: Clinical appearance of a typical chalazion.
Multiple Chalazia of upper and lower lids