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A stye, hordeolum, or chalazion (pronounced kuh-ley-zee-uhn) refers to an inflammatory lesion of the eyelid glands that is similar to a pimple on your face. They can be red, hot, and painful. Plus, they swell the eyelid and cause discomfort. If they get large enough, chalazia can cause your eyelid to close.
Can you pop it?
Unlike a facial pimple, you should not and cannot pop a chalazion. This is because the chalazion is not made up of pus, but hard inflammatory material in the tarsus (connective tissue) of your eyelid. The only way to get the inflammatory material out is through surgery.
What to do
The best treatment for chalazia is heat and lots of it. Take a wash cloth and soak it in warm water (be careful not to use water that is so warm that it will burn your skin). Then place the wash cloth on your closed eyelid for 10 minutes. Repeat this at least twice per day. The more times you can do this, the faster the chalazion will go away.
Worse case scenario
If after a few days, the chalazion does not go away or your eyelid gets redder, more swollen, or more painful, you should go and see an ophthalmologist right away. Also, if you develop blurry vision, eye pain, or light sensitivity, this should also prompt a visit to your ophthalmologist.
Once the chalazion “cools off” you may be left with a hard nodule of residual inflammatory tissue. If this bothers you, an ophthalmologist can perform an in-office surgical procedure to excise it.
Rarely, recurrent chalazia can signify sebaceous cell carcinoma (read cancer). So if you keep on getting chalazia in the same eyelid over and over again, you should see an ophthalmologist to check it out.
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