A chalazion is a lump that appears in the eyelid as a result of inflammation in an oil-producing sweat gland inside the skin. When this gland becomes blocked, it can rupture, which often leads to inflammation. A chalazion may cause swelling, occasional pain and redness. It can cause the eyelid to swell and can sometimes grow as large as an eighth of an inch.
Use warm compresses 10-15 minutes, 2-4 times a day to help reduce swelling. If after 3-4 days the swelling hasn’t subsided, contact your eye care provider. You should contact your eye care provider immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Blurred or decreased vision
- Extensive swelling and/or redness
- If both eyes and/or eyelids are swollen
A stye is tender, red bump on the eyelid caused by an acute infection or inflammation of the oil glands in the eyelid. If the gland is blocked, the oil produced by the gland will become congested and cause the oil to protrude through the wall of the gland forming a lump. A stye can grow on the upper and/or lower eyelid and cause tenderness and burning.
Most styes will go away on their own within a week. You can apply warm compresses 4-6 times a day, 15 minutes at a time to help the drainage. It is important to stop using eye make-up and lotions while the stye is present. Also, do not wear contact lenses because the stye could cause an infection that could spread to your cornea. You should seek treatment from your eye care provider if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Eyelid is swollen shut
- Blurred or decreased vision
- Swelling that lasts longer than three weeks
- Eyelashes fall out
- Styes on the bottom eyelid close to the nose
- Excessive tearing
- Stye is bleeding
If you suffer from seasonal eye allergies, consult your eye care provider. Many different types of medical treatments for eye allergies are available by prescription. Be sure to see an eye care provider for prescription information if you experience unusual eye pain, tearing, itching or swelling.
Eye Drops and Allergies
Your eye care provider may prescribe eye drops to treat certain eye conditions, infections or diseases. Before you use any eye drops, be sure to tell your eye care provider about any other prescription or nonprescription medications that you are taking or any allergies that you have.
Applying Eye Medication
Always wash your hands before applying eye medication. Open the bottle or tube being careful that its tip does not touch anything. Pull your lower eyelid down with the tip of your finger and look up or into a mirror. Squeeze one drop or a quarter-inch ribbon of ointment into the bottom lid, trying not to touch your eyelid with the tip of the bottle or tube. Close your eye gently to allow the medication to absorb.
First Aid & Safety
If you receive a cut on or near your eye, bandage the eye lightly, then immediately seek medical attention. Do not attempt to wash out the eye or to remove objects that may be stuck in the eye or eyelid. Avoid applying pressure to the injured eye.
If you get something caught in your eye, pull the upper lid down over the lashes of the lower lid and blink a few times. This action allows the eye to wash itself out. If this does not provide relief, call us as soon as possible.
Eye Injury Prevention
Ophthalmologists and optometrists regularly see young patients and recreational athletes with eye injuries caused by sports. Ninety percent of these eye injuries are preventable with proper eye protection. Eye safety goggles especially designed for sports such as baseball, hockey or racquetball should be worn when participating in these sports.
Stones, twigs, and other debris become dangerous projectiles after shooting out of the blades of a lawnmower and can injure eyes, including those of innocent bystanders. Before using a lawnmower, power trimmer or hedger, be sure to check for rocks and stones. When using pesticides around the yard, always point the spray-can nozzle away from your face. It is extremely important to always wear appropriate safety glasses.
Safety at Home
Many household chemicals, such as cleaning fluids, detergents and ammonia, are extremely hazardous and can burn the eye's delicate tissues. If chemicals get splashed in your eyes, flush them with clean water or even tap water for 10-15 minutes and call us immediately. The majority of eye injuries are preventable using safety precautions.