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What Are Stye And Chalazion? Understanding The Difference!

Discomfiture in the eyes can frequently be confusing, particularly when differentiating between common illnesses such as chalazion and stye. Even though both seem like little ...

by Kendra Reed

This article was created after thorough research and has been improved with the assistance of AI technology. Furthermore, our dedicated editorial team has meticulously fact-checked and polished its content for accuracy and clarity.

Discomfiture in the eyes can frequently be confusing, particularly when differentiating between common illnesses such as chalazion and stye. Even though both seem like little lumps on the eyelid, knowing the differences between them is essential for an accurate diagnosis and course of care.

A stye, usually the result of a bacterial infection, appears as a painful red lump close to the edge of the eyelid and is sometimes accompanied by soreness and swelling.

Chalazion, on the other hand, is a mass on the eyelid caused by a clogged oil gland; it usually develops deeper into the eyelid and is painless. Beyond the difference between the two, in this article, let’s discuss the symptoms, treatments, and precautions against chalazion and stye.

What Is Chalazion?

Chalazion Eye Disease

Large, non-infectious cysts in the eyelid that often take weeks to grow are called chalazion. It may originate from a hordeolum or be brought on by irritation of the meibomian glands. A chalazion typically affects the upper eyelid and is not painful.

This is probably due to the anatomically larger number of glands on the upper eyelids. Redness, ptosis (drooping of the eyelids), and, in rare cases, swelling of the lids are possible symptoms.

What is stye?

Stye, also known as hordeolum, is secondary to a bacterial infection of the eyelid glands and can be more acute when compared to chalazion. Unlike chalazion, stye is contagious, painful, and more tender to touch. The symptoms of stye include eyelid swelling, tearing, and pain. A stubborn streak for several days can turn into a challenge. 

Styes are of two types:

  • External style: Caused by an infection in the eyelash hair follicle, this appears at the eyelash base.
  • Internal style: It is caused by an infection in a Meibomian gland and appears inside the eyelid.

Difference between a situation and a challenge

At times, distinguishing between a challenge and a situation might be challenging.

Styes hurt a lot. It usually results from an inflamed eyelash root and frequently develops at the edge of the eyelid. It frequently swells, and occasionally the entire eyelid is affected.

Chalazion is not generally painful. It is a lump on the eyelid that typically appears farther back than a stye. An obstructed oil gland is the source of it. It rarely causes the entire eyelid to enlarge.  

The treatments for both conditions also vary. While stye can be treated with antibiotics, chalazion cannot be treated with them. 

Chalazion vs. Stye

✅ Causes 

While chalazion is caused by a block in one of the oil glands in the eyelid that provide moisture to the eyes, stye occurs mostly due to a bacterial infection. The major risk factors for chalazion include viral infections, rosacea, blepharitis, tuberculosis, diabetes, high cholesterol, and other chronic medical conditions.  

✅ Diagnosis

Examination of the eyelid area is the usual diagnosis method for chalazion and stye. During the examination, the appearance of the eyelashes, the texture of the skin around the eyelids, and the structure of the eyelids are analyzed by a healthcare provider.  

To help identify whether the condition is a chalazion, stye, or anything else, a medical professional can use a bright light to have a closer look at the eyelids. The healthcare provider will also inquire about other additional medical conditions, as some might cause symptoms or challenges. 

✅ Treatment

Although the treatments for chalazion and stye are similar, all treatments will not be effective for both conditions. Some of the treatments for chalazion and stye include:

  • Antibiotics: This can be used for stye, but not for chalazion.
  • Warm compresses: For styes or blisters, a warm compress can aid in expediting the healing process. Three to six times a day, for ten to fifteen minutes, dab your eyelid with a fresh washcloth soaked in hot water. A heated eye mask can also be used.
  • Over-the-counter products: Products like stye ointments, medicated pads to clean the eyelids, and eyewash products can be used for stye. 
  • Steroid shots: Chalazion swelling can be reduced by a steroid shot.
  • Surgery: A chalazion or stye can be drained by a professional. It could spread infection if you attempt to drain it yourself at home.

✅ Prevention

  • Refrain from rubbing the eyes. Rubbing the eyes can irritate and spread germs.
  • Wash your hands before touching your eyes.
  • Sharing towels with someone who has stye is not advised.
  • Avoid using outdated eye makeup. Cosmetics have the potential to harbor germs. Change out your eye makeup at least once every six months. Keep your eye makeup to yourself.
  • Seek treatment for eyelid infections.
  • Remove the makeup before going to bed. 

Also Read: What Is Healthy Eye Pressure? Understanding Optimal Intraocular Pressure


Though both are lumps on the eyelid, styes and chalazia differ significantly. An infection causes a stye, while clogged oil glands result in a chalazion. Redness or swelling may be present in both disorders, though styes typically pain more.

Home remedies can be used for stye or chalazion in the initial stages. However, if the problem persists, it is advisable to consult a professional for treatment.


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