A stye (or hordeolum) can develop when an eyelid gland at the base of an eyelash becomes infected with staphylococcal bacteria. Resembling a pimple on the eyelid, a stye can grow on the inside or outside of the lid. Styes are not harmful to vision, and they can occur at any age.
A stye may feel painful or irritating. You may notice frequent watering in the affected eye, a feeling like something is in the eye or increased light sensitivity.There is also redness and swelling in the area, and often a pimple. Sometimes the entire eyelid can swell.
Most styes heal within a few days on their own. You can encourage this process by applying hot compresses for 10 to 15 minutes, three or four times a day over the course of several days. This will relieve the pain and bring the stye to a head, much like a pimple. The stye ruptures and drains, then heals. Sometimes styes are treated with a topical antibiotic to prevent recurrence, and may need to be opened and drained by your ophthalmologist.
A chalazion is another type of bump found on the eyelid. It is basically an enlarged, blocked oil gland in the eyelid. A chalazion starts out similar to a stye, and then turns into a painless hard, round bump.
Although the same treatment speeds the healing of a chalazion, the bump may linger for several weeks or months. If the chalazion remains after several months, your ophthalmologist may drain it or inject a steroid to facilitate healing.