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Stye vs. Chalazion Eye Lump: What’s The Difference?

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Many people get confused between a Chalazion and a Stye. They have similar features and appear in or along the edge of the eyelid. Both these lumps may cause much discomfort to your eye. If you are not sure whether it’s a chalazion or a stye causing pain and swelling on your eye, continue reading further below and get to know the difference between the two.

What is a Stye?

Styes are small lumps that grow right under your eyelid or sometimes at the base of your eyelid, and usually develop due to an antibacterial infection. These are quite painful and appear as a red lump once it starts to grow.

There are two types of styes; one is the external hordeolum, and the other is called the internal hordeolum. The external hordeolum appears at the base of your eyelash and occurs due to an infection in the hair follicle. These look more like small pimples that appear on your face.

Internal hordeolum stye appears inside your eyelid, and you develop it when one of the glands in your eyelid that produce oil gets infected. Both these styes cause pain and make your eyelid red, itchy, and swollen.

What is a Chalazion?

A chalazion is a swollen bump that appears right on top of your eyelids and makes your eye look swollen. This usually happens when an oil-producing gland in your eyelids gets clogged. At first, the bump is quite small and appears like an internal hordeolum, which isn’t that painful.

But eventually, it gets bigger, and your eyelid starts to swell. Sometimes this leads to blurry vision if the chalazion gets larger. A chalazion is also more likely to develop again, and many adults experience this if they had a stye. However, anyone can get a chalazion because it depends on the oil glands present in your eyelid.

What is the Difference between a Stye and a Chalazion?

A stye is more painful compared to a chalazion and appears at the edge of the eyelid. Styes also cause more swelling than a chalazion. If you ever feel a bump on the top of your eyelid, it is a chalazion. A chalazion may also grow bigger to the point that your eyelid gets fully swollen (it happens in rare cases), and it makes your vision blurry. Styes usually appear small and become red, but disappear with time.


It does get a bit confusing when it comes to differentiating a Stye from a Chalazion; however, you may now have a clearer idea of the symptoms and appearance of the two. The next time you feel like your eye is swelling or if you know someone who develops either of these lumps, you can guide them. However, it is best not to advise any medication yourself and recommend them to visit a doctor immediately.

Written by Total Focus

At Total Focus Optometry, we’ve spent the last 70 years building meaningful relationships with our patients and their families. From routine eye exams to contact lens fittings we offer our patients a variety of services to meet their eye care needs.

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