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Dr. Dan Landmann will review your info, then design a customized treatment plan and prescribe an Antibiotic/Steroid to your pharmacy.

What Is a Chalazion?

There is a lot of confusion on the internet about “what is a Chalazion.”
So, according to Eye doctors who just do eyelid surgery, the technical definition is “chronic granulomatous inflammation.”
In case you don’t speak medical Latin, let me explain what that is.
On your eyelids, there are glands called Meibomian Glands. These glands make oil to lubricate your eye and eyelid. Instead of making oil, the glands make thicker oil, almost like butter. Sometimes a gland gets backed up with that thick oil & butter substance. The gland doesn’t realize it’s backed up, so it keeps making more of that poor-quality buttery sludge.
That oil is very irritating, so inflammatory cells come in, and it turns into a hard ball.
Just so you know, if you have more than one chalazion, they are called Chalazia.

How do you pronounce Chalazion?

I usually pronounce it like this: Cha·lay·zee·uhn. But some people pronounce it like this: kuh·lay·zee·uhn. It’s definitely a very odd word to pronounce. It’s derived from the Greek “khalaza,” which means hail, hailstone; small lump or knot; pimple. However you pronounce it, it definitely feels like a little piece of hail is stuck in your eye!

What Is a Hordeolum ?

A Hordeolum is different than a chalazion. A hordeolum is an acute eyelid infection. This is usually caused by bacteria. If you were fine yesterday and had no symptoms at all, but then woke up one day and all of a sudden your eyelid is red, hot, tender, and there is a painful bump - then that is probably a Hordeolum. Hordeolum do typically get a lot better with oral antibiotics and eye drops, but sometimes once the acute infection resolves, you are left with a bump on your eyelid. That bump then gets called a chalazion.

What’s the difference between a Chalazion and A Stye?

A Stye is the non-technical term for either a Chalazion or Hordeolum.
Most doctors wouldn’t use the term if they were speaking to another doctor or writing something technical.
The term stye is thrown around loosely and means different things to different people.

Do I need any special tests to diagnose a Stye or Chalazion?

An ophthalmologist, and especially an Oculo-Plastic surgeon (eye doctor who specializes in Eyelid Surgery) such as myself, is usually able to ask you a couple of specific questions and examine your eyelid by looking at the shape, size, color, and location of the bump. With that information, I’m typically able to tell you what it is, but if there is ever any question or concern, then we can do a biopsy and send it off to a Pathologist. That would tell us definitively that it’s a stye and not something more concerning, like skin cancer.

What else can it be if it's not a Chalazion?

There are dozens of different things that grow on the eyelid. It is important to distinguish between these because they are all treated differently.
Skin Cancer – can look very similar to a stye. Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer that forms on the eyelid. I treat eyelid skin cancers with a specialized Mohs surgeon who cuts out the cancer, and then I reconstruct the eyelid.
Preseptal cellulitis – which is an actual infection of the skin. Typically, the whole eyelid gets red, more painful, and swollen. These typically respond well to oral antibiotics.
Sebaceous cell Carcinoma – this is a very serious and aggressive form of cancer. We worry about this more in older patients who have recurrent styes on one eyelid. This requires very specialized treatment with an eyelid surgeon.
Pyogenic Granuloma – this is a deep red and inflamed bump that comes after a patient has a stye. They can look pretty unusual and scary, but they often respond to steroid eye drops.
Other Growths – The most common things that grow on eyelids are benign, which is great – because you don’t have to worry about them. But they won’t go away unless you cut them out. There are things such as cysts, nevi, and benign lid tumors that can all look like styes.

How long will it take for a stye to go away?

As soon as you get a stye, the first thing you want is for it to go away! So “Not soon enough” would be one answer. There’s a really wide range. I’ve seen a lot of patients that had a little mini stye, which went away in the course of a few hours with just warm compresses. I’ve also had some myself that were pretty uncomfortable but then resolved after a few days because I was able to immediately apply an antibiotic drop to the stye. On the flip side, I’ve seen many patients that have had styes for months or even years. Yes, years! I feel bad for these patients because if they had come in sooner, we would have been able to treat them sooner so they can move on with their lives.

Are styes

The good news is that styes are not contagious. The bad news is that you can’t get a note to skip school or work because of a stye. Haha, just kidding, we’ll email you a note if you need one.

What Kind of Stye Ointments or Drops Are There?

There are actually a surprising number of different drops and ointments that can be used for styes. First off, what’s the difference between drops, gels, and ointments?
  • Drops are usually very liquid-y, which is good because they are easy to administer.
  • Ointments are a lot thicker, which is good because they are more soothing, but they can make the vision blurry.
  • Gels are in between.
Secondly, what can you get in these drops and ointments?
  • Antibiotics – kill bacteria! However, there are several different antibiotics. Some are very irritating to the eyelid skin, and some are less irritating. It is very common to form a reaction to antibiotics used on the eyelids after several days.
  • Steroids – decrease inflammation. Some are very potent, and some are less potent. You should never use steroids without supervision from an ophthalmologist, as they can have a lot of side effects. Namely, cataracts, glaucoma, viral, bacterial, and fungal infections, loss of vision, and worsening the problem.
  • Combo Drops – Sometimes manufacturers will combine steroids and antibiotics for ease of use.
  • NSAIDS – non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Antifungals
  • Anti-virals – kill viruses, most commonly Herpes
  • Lubricants / Emollients / Moisturizing – these will make you more comfortable. The big popular brands are what I usually recommend: Systane, Refresh, Tears Naturale, and Optive. I typically don’t recommend the generic brands, like Costco, CVS, or Walmart – because they sometimes use an inferior preservative which can be irritating to some people.
If you’re concerned about your eyelid – and you think you need a drop or ointment to make it feel better, then I’m happy to help you figure out what would be best for you. I’m also able to call in a prescription to your pharmacy so that you can pick it up immediately.

When Should You See an Ophthalmologist in Person For A Stye?

You should get evaluated by an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) if you have:
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Can Dr. Landmann help me with my stye over telemedicine ?

Yes! I would be more than happy to help, and I’ve helped thousands of people with various different styes. I’m super proud of the platform that my team and I have created, which has helped so many people in a fast, efficient, thorough, detailed, and customized manner. All you have to do is fill out the secure treatment form, text us a photo of your eyelid, and you will get a response back to whatever question or concern you have about your eyelid. I look forward to helping you!

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