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There are many small glands (and the ducts of these glands) in your eyelid. They can become infected or simply clogged and swell , causing pain and discomfort. Sometimes you may see and feel the small nodule. Styes more commonly occur in the upper lid near the lid margin and eyelashes, but can be found in the lower lid as well.
More often than not, they are caused by a staphylococcus bacteria infection in an eyelash follicle or in the associated glands of Zeiss and Moll . Staph is a very common bacteria often present on your skin. Sometimes they over-reproduce causing inflammation.
This is quite similar to a pimple in your skin and the treatment is likewise similar: warm compresses three or more times each day until completely resolved. Most often improvement can be observed within a day or two and complete healing occurs within a week. A stye that rapidly enlarges or opens and drains puss into the eye requires medical attention. Styes may be treated with antibiotic drops and ointments along with warm compresses. This sometimes shortens the recovery time and is recommended for people with on-going chronic recurrence of the condition, those with staph blepheritis (a chronic eye lid infection) and immuno-compromised individuals. Swelling involving more of the lid (not localized like a pimple) that is accompanied by fever requires prompt medical attention.
Chalazion are more resistant to home treatment than hordeolum. Frequent, warm compresses over a period of weeks are often recommended. There is medical treatment for quicker response and recovery, relief of discomfort, and improvement of the cosmetic effect. Medical treatments include: injection of a corticosteroid solution into the chalazion or incision and removal. A hard or growing mass in the eyelid that does not respond to warm compresses quickly should be referred to an eye doctor.
The above conditions most often resolve without any lasting consequences. Individuals with frequent recurrence should consult with an eye doctor as chronic inflammations can result in cosmetic effects and functional impairment of the eyelids.