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 usually only involves the upper eyelid and 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 optometrist. You should contact your optometrist 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 sty 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 sty can grow on the upper and/or lower eyelid and cause tenderness and burning.
Most sties 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 makeup and lotions while the sty is present. Also, do not wear contact lenses because the sty could cause an infection that could spread to your cornea. You should seek treatment from your optometrist 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
- Sties on the bottom eyelid close to the nose
- Excessive tearing
- Sty is bleeding
If you suffer from seasonal eye allergies, consult your optometrist. Many different types of medical treatments for eye allergies are available by prescription. Be sure to see an optometrist for prescription information if you experience unusual eye pain, tearing, itching or swelling.
Eye Drops and Allergies
Your optometrist may prescribe eye drops to treat certain eye conditions, infections or diseases. Before you use any eye drops, be sure to tell your optometrist 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.
Eye Injury Prevention
Optometrist 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. Whenever you use pesticides around the yard, always point the spray-can nozzle away from your face.
Safety at Home
Many household chemicals, such as cleaning fluids, detergents and ammonia, are extremely hazardous and can burn the eye's delicate tissues. The majority of eye injuries are preventable using safety precautions.