Chalazion vs Hordeolum (Stye)

Written by Dr. Ryner Lai
January 19, 2021

thChalazion and hordeolum may be unfamiliar terms for some of us. Another better known word for hordeolum is ‘stye’.  What is the difference between a chalazion and a hordeolum (stye)? 

Both chalazion and hordeolum are eye lesions that are characterized by the swelling of the eyelids. Although they can sometimes be difficult to tell apart, they are in fact brought about by different causes. 




A chalazion is characterized by a usually painless swelling of the eyelid. It is caused by the obstruction of the meibomian glands (a gland that is located underneath the eyelid). Your physician should be able to make a diagnosis by examining your eye and collaborating it with your symptoms. 


A chalazion typically resolves itself in a few days to weeks. Warm compresses around the affected region can also be helpful. If your chalazion is more serious, your physician might recommend drainage or corticosteroid injection to be carried out by an expert. 


Hordeolum (Stye) 


A hordeolum (stye) is an abscess (buildup of pus) of the eyelid. The eyelid is swollen, red, and painful. Like a chalazion, your physician should be able to diagnose the condition based on findings from the clinical examination, as well as the symptoms you are having.


Like a chalazion, a hordeolum typically resolves itself in several days to weeks. Warm compresses can help as well. If the hordeolum persists after a few weeks, your physician might recommend for an incision and drainage procedure to be carried out. In some cases, your doctor might prescribe you a topical antibiotic ointment, like erythromycin or bacitracin, with or without a corticosteroid. For more severe cases, oran antibiotics like amoxicillin, doxycycline or cephalexin may be considered.



Chalazion and hordeolum are relatively benign health conditions that typically resolve by themselves with hot compresses. Sometimes further treatment becomes necessary, like antibiotic ointment, corticosteroids or an incision and drainage. If you experience changes in your vision or significant pain or swelling, you should see your doctor in case it is something more serious. 


Stye Treatment Online

Did you know? QuickMD can diagnose and treat your stye online through a video visit. Our doctors can then prescribe any antibiotic eye drops or ointments directly to your pharmacy.

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