Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between a stye and a chalazion. A stye is often very painful and often appears at the edge of the eyelid, unlike a chalazion, which is usually not painful and grows slowly on the eyelid.

How to recognize and treat them?

A stye most often appears on the upper eyelid, near the eyelashes, but can also appear in the lower eyelid. When palpating it, you can feel a small nodule. It is often an infection caused by a common bacterium called staphylococcus, often lodged on the skin. This bacterium reproduces in large numbers and causes inflammation.

A chalazion is caused by a buildup of secretions from a gland, which causes a blockage in the duct. When sebum (secretions) accumulates too much, the eyelid swells and becomes increasingly uncomfortable or painful. The sebum can also harden and form a mass in the eyelid.

Styes are treated with warm water compresses applied three or four times a day until they heal. Most of the time, there is improvement after a day or two, and full recovery takes about a week.

A stye that grows rapidly or opens up and pus flows out requires special attention. To speed up healing, the optometrist may recommend antibiotic drops or an ointment, in addition to warm water compresses. This type of treatment is effective for people who have recurring (chronic) styes. 

Chalazion, which is not an infection, but a sebum buildup, is more resistant than a stye. It is also treated by applying warm water compresses to the affected eyelid for one or two weeks. Sometimes, medical treatment is necessary to make it disappear, such as a cortisone injection or an extraction, in case of hardening.

Whether a stye or a chalazion, your trusted optometrist will suggest a follow-up examination to evaluate your condition and provide a treatment adapted to it.