There’s a good chance that, at some point in your life, you’ve had the displeasure of suffering from styes and chalazia. These inflamed lumps of skin can be found along the edge of an eyelid and emerging here they can cause soreness, dry eye, and general irritability.
The good news is that most styes and chalazia will go away with a little time. The bad news is that, in the meantime, they can present some annoying obstacles to one’s day to day activities. Few people will feel completely comfortable standing before a class or meeting of their colleagues with a giant red sore covering part of their eye. In any case, because styes and chalazia tend to affect all of us at one point or another, it’s a good idea to know a little bit about these strange afflictions.
Technically a stye is an infection that takes hold on the eyelid, often behind the fold or along the lower edge of the eyelid. When this takes place, the infection is called an internal hordeolum. A chalazion, meanwhile, is a lump that emerges within — rather than along — the eyelid. They’re less likely than styes to present the patient with pain, though they can also be significantly larger in size, meaning they may look worse than a stye.
Styes and chalazion can also be linked to a condition called blepharitis, which involves a visible inflammation of the eyelid and is often caused by the clogging of pores by oil produced by the skin. Blepharitis can look and feel like acne.